Lombok natural disaster 'exceptionally destructive' says Red Cross

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"We are still waiting for assessments from some of the more remote areas in the north of the island, but it is already clear that Sunday's natural disaster was exceptionally destructive", Christopher Rassi, the head of a Red Cross assessment team on Lombok, said in a statement.

Local authorities, global relief groups and the central government have begun organizing aid, but shattered roads have slowed efforts to reach survivors in the mountainous north and east of Lombok, which bore the brunt of the quake.

The quake struck as evening prayers were being said across the Muslim-majority island and there are fears that one collapsed mosque in north Lombok had been filled with worshippers.

While the quake was centred on the island of Lombok, people in nearby Bali were also strongly affected.

He said victims can be counted several times because of the common practice of people in Indonesia using several names and noted that families of victims are entitled to financial compensation from the government when a death is confirmed.


Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Wednesday the information from the Antara sources was incomplete and had not been cross-checked for duplication.

The deadly 6.9-magnitude natural disaster hit the Indonesian island on Sunday night, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless.

An interagency meeting will be held Thursday to compare information, Nugroho said.

Many people used the word "selamat" - meaning "to survive" - as they wrote about the magnitude 7.0 quake, which, CBS reports, killed at least 131 people. Water, food and medical supplies were being distributed from trucks.

Rescuers intensified efforts Wednesday to find those buried in the rubble, with volunteers and rescue personnel erecting temporary shelters for the tens of thousands left homeless on the southern island.


The military said it sent five planes carrying food, medicine, blankets, field tents and water tankers.

The government says more than 1,400 people were injured and more than 156,000 displaced.

Authorities said all the tourists who wanted to be evacuated from three outlying holiday islands due to power blackouts and damage to hotels had left by boat, some 5,000 people in all.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is regularly hit by earthquakes.


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