Death toll reaches 82 in Indonesia after 7.0 earthquake

At least 82 people died Sunday when Indonesia's resort island of Lombok was hit by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. The quake was also felt on the neighbouring resort island of Bali.

Quake on resort island of Lombok comes 1 week after separate, lethal earthquake

At least 82 people died Sunday when Indonesia's resort island of Lombok was hit by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, disaster officials in the country said.

The powerful quake triggered panic among tourists and residents, and was also felt on the neighbouring island of Bali. On Lombok, thousands fled from their homes to gather in emergency shelters in open spaces, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said.

The area continued to be rattled by aftershocks from the quake, which occurred days after a 6.4 tremor hit Lombok on July 29, killing 14 people and injuring 162 people.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency placed Sunday's death toll at 82, more than doubling its earlier figure of 32. Many of the dead were from northern and western parts of Lombok.

Patients wait outside the Mataram City hospital. (Ahmad Subaidi/Antara Foto via REUTERS)

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.0, which is classified as "major." It struck early Sunday evening at a depth of 10.5 kilometres. Its epicentre was about two kilometres east-southeast of Loloan.

Most of Lombok suffered power outages, local media reported. Travellers at the international airports in Lombok and Bali were thrown into panic and there was minor damage to the buildings, but operations were not disrupted, officials said. The quake was felt for several seconds in Bali, where people ran out of houses, hotels and restaurants.

"All the hotel guests were running, so I did too. People filled the streets," said Michelle Lindsay, an Australian tourist. "A lot of officials were urging people not to panic."

Other witnesses said the initial quake grew in intensity over several seconds, rattling windows and doors, and there were many aftershocks.

A policeman examines debris that fell and crushed parked motorbikes at a shopping centre in Kuta, Bali. (Johannes P. Christo/Reuters)

The country's disaster management agency urged people to stay away from the sea. However, an initial warning of a tsunami with waves of up to half a metre was later withdrawn.

Saffron Amis, a British student visiting the Gili Islands off the northwest coast of Lombok, told Reuters by text message that dozens of tourists were forced to flee to a hill after the quake.

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 earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

With files from The Associated Press