Indonesia: Lombok Island rocked by two major tremors within hours

A second earthquake has jolted the Indonesian island of Lombok just hours after an earlier tremor triggered landslides and damaged buildings.

The US Geological Survey measured Sunday’s quake, which was centred in the island’s northeast, at magnitude 6.9 with a depth of 20km.

It followed a separate 6.3 magnitude tremor recorded earlier in the day which rocked the same region of the beleaguered tourist island.

Lombok is struggling to recover from a series of powerful earthquakes which have hit the island in recent weeks, killing hundreds of people and damaging tens of thousands of homes.

About 350,000 have been displaced as a result of the tremors.

Earlier tremors

Sunday’s first quake caused landslides on Mount Rinjani, a popular tourist spot which has been closed to visitors following an earthquake last month that killed 16 people.

It was also felt on the neighbouring island of Bali and was preceded a few minutes earlier by a magnitude 5.4 quake, also in Lombok’s northeast, residents said.

“I was driving to deliver aid to evacuees when suddenly the electricity pole was swaying. I realised it was an earthquake,” East Lombok resident Agus Salim told AFP news agency.

“People started to scream and cry. They all ran to the street,” Salim added.

An Associated Press reporter on Lombok said the tremor caused landslides on the slopes of Rinjani and panic in surrounding villages.

The shaking toppled motorcycles and damaged several buildings in the Sembalun subdistrict, including a community hall that collapsed.

The hall had sustained damage in earlier quakes, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. Homes and a mosque were also affected, he added.

He said so far there have been no reports of injuries or fatalities, but information was still being collected.

‘Ring of Fire’

Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler, reporting from the Indonesian capital Jakarta, said that many residents of the area were still psychologically recovering from previous earthquakes.

“Where this earthquake struck today, there had also been a weaker earthquake at the end of last month … so they were rattled to begin with and with this new one they are even more so,” he said. 

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago that straddles the Pacific “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific Ocean and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

In 2004, a tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.3 undersea earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, in western Indonesia, killed 220,000 people in countries around the Indian Ocean, including 168,000 in Indonesia.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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