Earthquakes continue to rock the eastern Indonesia island of Lombok with more than 340 people reportedly dead, while poor infrastructure is frustrating efforts to get relief to isolated communities in the centre and highlands of the island.
Between July 29 (local time) and August 10 the United States Geological Survey (USGS) recorded 30 earthquakes on or close to the island of Lombok, with more than 20 above 4.5 on the Richter scale in intensity. Depths ranged from ten kilometres (about 6.2 miles) to 200 kilometres (124 miles).
More than 300,00 people have been displaced, with national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho telling AEC News Today “there has been been tremors shaking the ground every day; walls between properties are felling (sic) down; there is no electricity for nearly all of the north of Lombok”.
According to Indonesian Red Cross spokesperson Arifin Hadi many tens of thousands of people are homeless and in need of clean water and tarpaulins, with some 20,000 people in remote areas of the island’s north yet to receive any assistance, with bridges and roads torn up.
Rescue workers struggling to remove concrete slabs, rubble and debris with little mechanised equipment are reporting “the smell of death” emanating from beneath some collapsed buildings, as survivors and local authorities also attempt to bury the dead accordance with Islamic custom; within 24-hours of death.
A largely agrarian-based province, tourism has long been a major cash earner for the Lombok economy, proving particularly popular with those wanting to escape the commercialism, excesses, and rising prices of Bali.
The number of people on Lombok said to be living under the poverty line is put at more than double the official 2017 national average of 10.12 per cent.
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