At least 91 dead after strong earthquake hits Indonesia's Lombok island

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Magnitude 7 earthquake strikes Indonesia's Lombok island

Rescuers still haven't reached some devastated parts of the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok after a powerful earthquake flattened houses and toppled bridges, killing at least 91 people and shaking neighboring Bali, authorities said Monday. The death toll is expected to rise.

It was the second deadly quake in a week to hit Lombok. A July 29 quake killed 16 people and damaged hundreds of houses, some of which collapsed in Sunday evening's magnitude 7.0 temblor, killing those inside.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a news conference that damage was "massive" in northern Lombok. In several districts, more than half the homes were destroyed or severely damaged.

Some areas still hadn't been reached, with rescuers battling against collapsed bridges, electricity blackouts and damaged roads blocked with debris. Lack of heavy equipment was hampering attempts to find victims beneath the rubble of a mosque that collapsed in northern Lombok while villagers prayed inside, Nugroho said.

The death toll had risen to 91 and will "definitely increase," he said, adding that two of the deaths were in Bali and the rest in Lombok. More than 200 people were seriously injured. Thousands of homes and buildings were damaged and 20,000 people are in temporary shelters.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.0 quake struck early Sunday evening at a depth of 10.5 kilometers (6 miles). Its epicenter was about 2 kilometers (1 mile) east-southeast of Loloan.

Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency issued a tsunami warning after the quake struck, saying small waves were possible. The agency's head, Dwikorita Karnawati, later told MetroTV that the tsunami warning had ended.

She said the warning was for the lowest level of the tsunami, and that small waves just 15 centimeters (6 inches) high were detected in three villages.

Najmul Akhyar, district chief of North Lombok, told MetroTV that there was an electrical blackout so he was unable to assess the entire situation, but that at least three people had been killed.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told Kompas TV that the quake strongly jolted Mataram, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara province, and may have caused damage there.

He said the quake was also felt in parts of neighboring Bali Island.
Video aired by Kompas TV showed patients being evacuated from a hospital in Bali's Tabanan district.

Iwan Asmara, an official from the local Disaster Mitigation Agency, said people poured out from their houses in a panic to move to higher ground, particularly in Mataram and North Lombok.

A magnitude 6.4 quake hit Lombok on July 29, killing 16 people.

Like Bali, Lombok is known for pristine beaches and mountains. Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.
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