Tourists flee Lombok after quake kills 98

Tourists are fleeing Indonesian resort islands after a strong earthquake on Lombok killed 98 people.Rescuers used diggers and heavy machinery to clear debris and search for survivors after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake killed at least 98 people on Indonesia’s resort island of Lombok, prompting a tourist exodus.

The island was further rattled by a magnitude 5.2 earthquake on Monday evening.

One witness said the latest quake woke up tourists who ran out of their hotel, but there was no apparent damage.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) expected the death toll to rise once the rubble of more than 13,000 houses was cleared away after two powerful quakes in a week.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and a team of Australian delegates escaped from the 12th floor of a Lombok hotel, after Sunday’s quake brought down parts of the building.

Other Australians have told of running for their lives, including resort manager Evan Burns who fled 3km with his wife and toddler son up a nearby mountain, fearing a tsunami.

“The force was so severe that it threw us out of bed, and the walls immediately started cracking,” he told AAP on Monday.

He estimates 70 per cent of his Senggigi resort’s guests have made their way to the airport but are stuck there, with flights unable to cope with the mass exodus.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australian officials were making their way to Lombok to help Aussies caught up in the disaster.

Power and communications were severed in some areas, with landslides and a collapsed bridge blocking access to areas around the epicentre in the north.

The Indonesian military said it would send a ship with medical aid, supplies and logistics support.

Officials said more than 2,000 people had been evacuated from the three Gili islands off the northwest coast of Lombok, where fears of another tsunami spread.

BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said emergency units in hospitals were overflowing and some patients were being treated in parking lots.

The main hospital in the town of Tanjung in the north was severely damaged, so staff set up about 30 beds in the shade of trees and in a tent on a field to tend to the injured.

Lombok had already been hit on July 29 by a 6.4 magnitude quake that killed 17 people and briefly stranded several hundred trekkers on the slopes of a volcano.

The tremor of Sunday’s quake was powerful enough to be felt on the neighbouring island of Bali where, BNPB said, two people died.

Despite it being a popular tourist destination, no foreigners were recorded among the dead, BNPB spokesman Nugroho told a news conference.

Some 236 people were injured and more than 20,000 displaced, he said.

The Indonesian Red Cross said on Twitter it had helped a woman give birth at a makeshift health care station after the quake.

One of the names she gave the baby boy was “Gempa”, which means earthquake.

Long lines formed at the airport of Lombok’s main town, Mataram, as foreign visitors cut their holidays short. BNPB said 18 extra flights had been added for leaving tourists.

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