In a message, Pope Francis expresses his closeness to the victims of the earthquake. The toll is 98 dead and hundreds injured. The parish of St. Mary Immaculate, in Mataram, is hit. Rescuers continue to dig into the rubble. At least 20 thousand people do not have a home. The evacuation of 700 people has begun, many tourists, stuck in the 'Gili', small islands around Lombok.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The search for survivors on the island of Lombok continues, after the earthquake on Sunday August 5 devastated cities and villages. Today one person has been pulled alive from a collapsed mosque in the village of Lading-Lading (photo 1).
Yesterday Pope Francis sent a telegram of condolences to the Indonesian authorities. The number of deaths stands at 98; so far over 500 wounded. Rescuers fear that the death toll may rise, given the many damaged buildings. At least 20 thousand people are without a home.
Two days after the earthquake, one person was pulled alive from the mosque in the village of Lading-Lading (photo 2). The building collapsed as the faithful were engaged in evening prayer. In a video you can see the military officers who support the man in difficulty, while pulling him from the debris of the building. Rescuers fear that dozens of people are trapped.
On his Twitter account, Disaster Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho writes: "Thank God there are still victims that can be saved from the collapsed mosque due to the earthquake. We hope that many more can be saved ".
The Indonesian government has requested the support of the international community. Pope Francis sent a telegram to the local ecclesiastical and civil authorities expressing his closeness to the victims of the earthquake. Through Card. Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, the pontiff "expresses his heartfelt sympathy to all those involved in this tragedy. He particularly prays for the repose of the dead, the healing of the wounded and the consolation of all those who suffer from the loss of their loved ones. In offering encouragement to civil authorities and to those involved in search and rescue efforts while assisting the victims of this disaster, His Holiness invokes divine blessings of consolation and strength on the people of Indonesia. "
Even the parish church of Saint Mary Immaculate (photo 3) in Mataram, the capital, suffered serious damage. The parish priest Laurencius Maryono reports that the ceiling has collapsed.
"The building collapsed did not cause harm to people. The earthquake occurred when there were no activities in the church, "reports the priest.
Rescue teams say that we need to provide a roof for 20,000 displaced people. Healthcare facilities and hospitals have also been damaged. Doctors and nurses are treating the wounded in the open air.
In the meantime, many tourists are trying to leave the islands hit by the earthquake. Rescuers have evacuated 4,600 people from the Gilli Islands, a small tropical archipelago near Lombok.
The fear of new shocks spread the panic among the tourists because there was the danger that a tsunami could hit these places. But there was only a small tidal wave, with waves of 10-15 cm. Due to a blackout the islands have been without electricity and water for two days.
To speed up the evacuation, the Indonesian government has asked the airlines to intensify their flights. The airport will be operating 24 hours a day.
At least 700 people are blocked without food and water in Gili Trawangan, the largest island in the group of tropical islands, which is about 30 minutes from Lombok.
Large ferries can not berth at the Gili islands due to the seabed being too shallow. People must be transferred to ships with small boats or rafts. Rescuers started to transport tourists by boat to the port of Benoa, in Bali.