Jakarta (AsiaNews) – At least five people, including a Malaysian tourist, are among the first victims identified in the city of Mataram, capital of Lombok island, which was hit this morning by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake.
The island, the second most popular tourist destination in Indonesia, is located in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) province. The authorities fear the number of dead and wounded will rise in the coming hours.
Some bodies have not yet been identified.
The strong quake was also felt on the island of Sumbawa, also in NTB province. The epicentre of the quake was located 47 kilometres east of Mataram, at a depth of 24 kilometres.
The quake occurred at 9.55 am (local time) and lasted about 10 seconds. This was followed by at least 43 aftershocks, which continue.
Local authorities did not consider it necessary to issue a tsunami warning, even if the earth's tremor spread panic among the population and tourists on the island of Bali, also near Lombok.
Dozens of houses and buildings have been affected, even if it is too early to assess the extent of damages.
Sutopo Yuwono, spokesperson for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said that "the dead and injured are being extracted from the rubble of buildings."
Fearing new quakes or landslides, Mount Rinjani, the only volcano on Lombok, has been declared off-limits.