Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A powerful earthquake shook Indonesia's tourist islands of Bali and Lombok early this morning, injuring dozens of people and damaging thousands of buildings, houses, and temples. In Lombok, one elderly man died, apparently of shock as a result of the quake, which the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said measured at 6.1 on the Richter scale. The undersea quake struck shortly before dawn in the Straits of Lombok, about 18 miles off the east coast of Bali, officials said today.Bali and Lombok are both popular international tourist resorts, but initial reports said the quake did not damage any area frequented by holiday makers. Thousands of people on the tropical islands in eastern Indonesia fled their homes in terror when the quake hit. "We all ran for fear our houses were going to cave in," said Maria, an employee at the telephone exchange on Lombok who asked to be identified by a single name.
At least 22 people were injured on Lombok, including a 12-year-old boy whose legs were broken when a house fell on top of him, said Sri, a doctor in Mataram, the island's capital. Around 12 buildings were damaged on the island's western cost, officials said.
In Bali, at least seven people were injured as they ran out from their houses in panic, in the eastern side of the island. Gede Suryana, a hospital staffer in the town of Karangasem, said: "The town's hospital has been damaged; officials are now setting up tents on the ground of the building to treat patients".A police officer in Karangasem said up to 100 homes, schools and places of worship may have been damaged, but declined to give precise figures. There were no reports of tidal waves. (MH)