08/06/2018, 09.39
INDONESIA
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Indonesia, at least 91 dead and hundreds injured after the earthquake in Lombok

by Mathias Hariyadi

The number of victims is destined to rise in the next few hours. The capital of the island of Lombok, Mataram, is the most affected area. The tsunami alert on the north coast is recalled. Most people died as a result of collapses.

Mataram (AsiaNews) - The number of deaths and injuries from the earthquake that struck yesterday on the island of Lombok (in the West Nusa Tenggara province, in Indonesia) is rising. General Wiranto, minister for political, legal and security affairs, is already in Mataram, the capital of the island, to coordinate relief operations and the evacuation process.

The hundred foreign delegations were also repatriated, including some foreign ministers, who were in the area in these days for an international conference on terrorism. "They have all returned to their countries of origin," says the general.

Indonesian President Joko Jokowi Widodo addressed survivors and families who have suffered severe loss or damage. "On behalf of myself and the Indonesian people, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families whose members have been victims of the events of this night," he said this morning.

The confirmed number of victims rose to 91: hundreds were injured, thousands of buildings destroyed. The number of victims is likely to grow, say rescuers. Most people died as a result of building collapses.

In a week, two strong earthquakes have rocked the popular tourist destination in the West Nusa Tenggara province (NTB).

The first shock was 5.6 on the Richter scale and took place on July 29th. The dead were 16, the wounded 355.

The second shock of 7.0 occurred on Sunday evening at 7.46 pm (local time). "Its epicenter is located on the northeastern side of the mountain, 18 kilometers northeast of the eastern district of Lombok, 15 kilometers below the Earth's surface," says Dwikorita Karnawati, head of the Indonesian Meteorology, Climate and Geophysics of Jakarta ( Bmkg).

"The shocks of the past few days are considered the preliminary earthquakes that led to last night," said Dwikorita yesterday.

The earthquake last night was felt in Bali, Sumbawa island and in some cities of Java. The tsunami warning was also launched, the alert level was raised in the following hours. On the north coast of the island there was a "small tsunami." Strong aftershocks of magnitude between 5.4 and 4.3 followed the main earthquake.

The areas most affected are those near Mataram, the capital of Lombok, along with North Lombok, East Lombok. Access to communication is severely damaged seriously hampering rescue and evacuation activities.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesperson for the rescue team, explained that the most urgent needs concern water and food, as well as medicines, blankets, tents, food ready to be served.

Lombok and Bali in the huge Indonesian archipelago are located within the wide and long seismic ring of the Pacific, with its 40 thousand kilometers of intense seismic and volcanic activity.

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