SENGGIGI, Indonesia - Thousands left homeless by a powerful quake that ruptured roads and flattened buildings on the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok sheltered Monday night in makeshift tents as authorities said rescuers hadn’t yet reached all devastated areas and expect the toll of 98 dead to climb.
It was the second deadly quake in a week to hit Lombok, a less-developed island compared with its more famous neighbor Bali, where the strong tremors caused panic and damaged buildings.
A July 29 quake killed 16 people and damaged hundreds of houses on Lombok, some of which collapsed in Sunday evening’s quake, measured at magnitude 7.0 by Indonesian authorities and 6.9 by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Damage was “massive” in mountainous northern Lombok, where the quake was centered, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. In several districts, more than half the homes were destroyed or severely damaged.
A large mosque collapsed on worshippers in northern Lombok’s Lading-Lading village, and rescuers used a backhoe to search the debris. The number of victims was unknown.
Some areas still hadn’t been reached 24 hours after the quake because of collapsed bridges, blocked and ruptured roads and the loss of power and communications.
Nugroho said the death toll had risen to 98 and warned it will continue to increase. All but two of were killed on Lombok; the others died on Bali.
More than 230 people were seriously injured. Thousands of homes and buildings were damaged and those displaced camped wherever they could - in sports fields and on roadsides, cobbling together ramshackle shelters and building campfires for warmth.
Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because of its location on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.