World

Quake on Indonesian tourist island kills at least 14, injures more than 160

A powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the popular tourist destination of Lombok in Indonesia on Sunday, killing 14 people and damaging many buildings, authorities said.

Temblor hit northern part of Lombok island when many people were still sleeping

A powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the popular tourist destination of Lombok in Indonesia on Sunday, killing at least 14 people and damaging many buildings. (Antara Foto/Zakir/via Reuters)

A powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the popular tourist destination of Lombok in Indonesia on Sunday, killing 14 people and damaging many buildings, authorities said.

The quake hit Lombok island early in the morning when many people were still sleeping. More than 160 people were injured and many fled into open fields away from collapsed buildings.

"We jumped out of our beds to avoid anything falling on our heads," said Jean-Paul Volckaert who was woken by the quake while sleeping in the Puncak Hotel near Senggigi on Lombok.

"I've been walking around but so far there is no damage. We were very surprised as the water in the pools was swaying like a wild sea. There were waves in the pools but only for 20 to 30 seconds," he told Reuters via telephone.

"The people in the villages may have damages. It's still early morning here."

The quake, which was quickly followed by an aftershock of magnitude 5.4 in the same area, was centred 50 kilometres northeast of the city of Mataram, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Electricity was cut off in the worst-hit area, Sembalun, a sparsely populated area of rice paddies and the slopes of Mount Rinjani on the northern side of the island.

A 30-year-old Malaysian woman visiting Mount Rinjani, a popular trekking destination, was among those killed, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the disaster mitigation agency spokesperson.

He said the area was temporarily closed to climbers because there were reports of landslides. Hundreds of climbers are being moved out of Rinjani national park and 115 have been safely escorted out, Nugroho said.

An Indonesian man examines the remains of houses after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Lombok on Sunday. (Aulia Ahmad/AFP/Getty Images)

"It happened so suddenly at around 6 in the morning. Suddenly everything simply collapsed," said Siti Sumarni, a Sembalun resident. "My child was inside the house, thankfully he survived."

Local news Metro TV reported that people were still sleeping when the first quake hit and they quickly fled their houses in panic. Most of the people were still waiting outside their houses in fear of aftershocks, Metro TV said.

The earthquake struck at 6:47 a.m. local time on Sunday and was only seven kilometres, a shallow depth that would have amplified its effect. The second struck less than a hour later

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake is considered strong and is capable of causing severe damage.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre, the European quake agency, put the magnitude at 6.5.

The earthquake was on land and did not trigger any waves or tsunami.

Lombok is the next island east of Bali.

Quakes are common in Indonesia, which is located on the seismically active "Ring of Fire" that surrounds the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

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