Fourteen people are dead and 162 injured after a powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Lombok, damaging thousands of buildings and sowing panic throughout the popular tourist destination.
“We jumped out of our beds to avoid anything falling on our heads,” said Jean-Paul Volckaert, who was woken by the quake on Sunday while sleeping in the Puncak Hotel near Senggigi.
“The water in the pools was swaying like a wild sea,” he told Reuters via telephone.
The quake, which was quickly followed by an aftershock of magnitude 5.4 in the same area in eastern Indonesia, was centred in the northern part of the island, 50 kilometres north of the city of Mataram, the US Geological Survey said.
Electricity was cut off in the worst-hit area, Sembalun, a sparsely populated area of rice paddies and the slopes of Mount Rinjani on the northern side of the island.
A 30-year-old Malaysian woman visiting Mount Rinjani, a popular trekking destination, was among those killed, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the disaster mitigation agency spokesman.
He said the area was temporarily closed to climbers because there were reports of landslides.
“People are gathering on the streets and empty fields to avoid collapsing buildings,” he said. “The main focus now is evacuation and rescue. Some of the injured are still being treated at clinics.”
An emergency tent was set up on a street in Sembalun to treat the injured because the local hospital was damaged, and those in a critical condition were taken to other hospitals.
“It happened so suddenly at around six in the morning. Suddenly everything simply collapsed,” said Siti Sumarni, a Sembalun resident. “My child was inside the house. Thankfully, he survived.”
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the agency spokesman, posted on Twitter pictures of houses with collapsed roofs and walls.
The quake may have also impacted Mount Rinjani national park, a popular trekking destination.
“Rinjani mountain climbing is closed temporarily because there are indication of landslide around the mountain,” Nugroho, said in a statement.
Local news Metro TV reported that people were still sleeping when the first quake hit and they quickly fled their houses in panic. Most of the people were still waiting outside their houses in fear of aftershocks, Metro TV said.
The earthquake was only seven kilometres below the surface, a shallow depth that would have amplified its effect. The second struck less than a hour later.
The earthquake was on land and did not trigger any waves or tsunami.
Lombok is the next island east of Bali.
Nearly 80 subsequent tremors were recorded, with the largest aftershock recorded at 5.7 magnitude, Indonesia’s Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysics Agency said.