Fresh quake hits Lombok, causing further damage

JAKARTA (The Straits Times/ANN) -  Two killed, 24 injured as latest tremor brings down buildings on popular holiday island

A fresh magnitude-6.2 earthquake hit Indonesia's Lombok island yesterday, killing two and injuring 24. Witnesses reported seeing collapsed buildings as a result of the latest in a series of tremors in the popular tourist destination.

The earthquake occurred at 12.25pm local time, with an epicentre located 6km north-west of North Lombok at a depth of 12km, according to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

BMKG chief Dwikorita Karnawati said the quake was strongly felt because the epicentre was shallow.

"Many people felt the tremor... They were surprised and ran out. It also caused mild damage (to buildings)," she told a press briefing broadcast by MetroTV.

Ms Dwikorita said such aftershocks were natural after a major earthquake and there is no potential for a tsunami to be caused by the upward movement of the Flores back arc thrust fault.

"Residents whose houses are not damaged can return to their houses, although they are still advised to remain alert to future aftershocks," she said.

The latest quake was among hundreds of aftershocks following a magnitude-7 earthquake on Sunday.

National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Twitter last night that yesterday's earthquake caused significant trauma, killing two and injuring 24.

Buildings that were already weakened structurally after the earlier quake saw further damage, he said.

BNPB reported that as of late Wednesday afternoon, the death toll had increased to 259, including two in neighbouring Bali.

"This number will continue increasing as rescue teams continue to find victims under collapsed buildings," the agency said in a statement.

An earlier figure by the Indonesian Armed Forces on Wednesday was much higher, at 381 deaths.

BNPB also said that 1,033 people were severely injured and treated in hospitals and community health centres.

The number of people evacuated or moved to shelters also climbed to 270,168, it added.

Other material losses included 67,857 houses and 458 schools damaged by the powerful quake.

Separately, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said that at least 46 foreigners, including those from Britain, Australia, Sweden and France, have decided to stay in Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno - popular holiday island destinations on Lombok - despite the earthquake as they wanted to look after their property, including villas, restaurants and cafes.

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