At least 10 dead, 40 hurt as 6.4 quake hits Indonesia island

The quake damaged dozens of single-story house

A shallow, magnitude 6.4 earthquake early Sunday killed at least 10 people and injured 40 on Indonesia’s Lombok Island, a popular tourist destination next to Bali, officials said.

The quake damaged dozens of single-story houses and taller buildings and was felt in a wider area, including in Bali, where no damage or casualties were reported.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at a depth of 7 kilometres (4.4 miles).

East Lombok district was the hardest hit with eight deaths, including a Malaysian tourist, said a spokesman for Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. The number of casualties could increase as data was still being collected from other locations on the island, he said.

The quake also triggered a large landslide from Mount Rinjani. Authorities were still monitoring its impact.

In East Lombok and the provincial capital of Mataram, it lasted about 10 seconds, sending residents to flee their homes onto streets and fields, Nugroho said. He said most of the fatalities and injuries were caused by falling slabs of concrete.

Photos released by the agency showed damaged houses and the entrance to the popular Mount Rinjani National Park, which was immediately closed for fear of landslides.

Television footage showed residents remaining outside, fearing aftershocks, as the injured were being treated on mattresses taken out of their partially damaged houses and patients wheeled out of a hospital.

Eka Fathurrahman, the police chief in East Lombok, said the Malaysian woman who died was part of a group of 18 Malaysian tourists who had just visited Mount Rinjani when the quake jolted their guest house and toppled a concrete wall. Six other people were injured at the guest house.

Fathurrahman said many injured people who were treated outside a damaged clinic were evacuated to the main hospital farther away after more ambulances reached the devastated location in Sembalun village of East Lombok.

“Residents refused to enter their houses as prolong aftershocks are still being felt,” he said.

Indonesia’s meteorology and geophysics agency recorded more than 130 aftershocks.

Like Bali, Lombok is known for pristine beaches and mountains. Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific “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.

Niniek Karmini And Ali Kotarumalos, The Associated Press

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