By Nyimas Laula
DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) – At least 82 people were killed on Sunday when Indonesia’s resort island of Lombok was hit by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake.
The powerful quake triggered panic among tourists and residents, and was also felt on the neighbouring island of Bali. On Lombok, thousands fled from their homes to gather in emergency shelters in open spaces, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said.
The area continued to be rattled by aftershocks from the quake, which occurred days after a 6.4 tremor hit Lombok on July 29, killing 14 people and injuring 162 people.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency placed Sunday’s death toll at 82, more than doubling its earlier figure of 32. Many of the dead were from northern and western parts of Lombok.
Singapore Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, who was in the Lombok town of Mataram at the time of the quake, wrote on Facebook that his 10th-floor hotel room shook violently and walls cracked.
“It was quite impossible to stand up. Heard screams,” he wrote. “Came out, and made my way down a staircase, while building was still shaking. Power went out for a while. Lots of cracks, fallen doors.”
The quake struck Lombok in the early evening at a depth of 10 km (6 miles).
Most of Lombok suffered power cuts, local media reported.
Travellers at the international airports in Lombok and Bali were thrown into panic and there was minor damage to the buildings but operations were not disrupted, officials said.
The quake was felt for several seconds in Bali, where people ran out of houses, hotels and restaurants.
“All the hotel guests were running, so I did too. People filled the streets,” said Michelle Lindsay, an Australian tourist. “A lot of officials were urging people not to panic.”
Other witnesses said the initial quake grew in intensity over several seconds, rattling windows and doors, and there were many aftershocks.
The country’s disaster management agency urged people to stay away from the sea. However, an initial warning of a tsunami with waves of up to half a metre was later withdrawn.
Saffron Amis, a British student visiting the Gili Islands off the northwest coast of Lombok, told Reuters by text message that dozens of tourists were evacuated to a hill after the quake.
(Additional reporting by Tabita Diela, Jessica Damiana, Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Kanupriya Kapoor; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor and John Chalmers; Editing by Bill Trott and Susan Thomas)