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Dozens killed after quake hits Indonesian tourist island

The US Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.0 quake struck early on Sunday evening.

The earthquake caused damage in Bali and Lombok (Firdia Lisnawati/AP)
The earthquake caused damage in Bali and Lombok (Firdia Lisnawati/AP)

Dozens of people have been killed after a strong earthquake struck Indonesia’s popular tourist island of Lombok.

At least 39 people died in the quake which came a week after another in the same area killed 16.

Buildings were damaged and some people fled their homes for higher ground, as a power blackout affected the island.

The US Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.0 quake struck early on Sunday evening at a depth of 10.5 six miles. Its epicentre was about one mile east of Loloan.

The quake damaged buildings as far away as Denpasar on Bali, including a department store and the airport terminal, where ceiling panels were shaken loose, authorities said.

Video showed screaming people running in panic from houses in a Bali neighbourhood and vehicles rocking. On Lombok, soldiers and other rescuers carried injured people on stretchers and carpets to an evacuation centre.

A man walks inside a cathedral in Bali where debris has fallen after the earthquake (Firdia Lisnawati/AP)

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.

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.

Video aired by Kompas TV showed patients being evacuated from a hospital in Bali’s Tabanan district.

People affected by the earthquake rest at a temporary shelter in Lombok, Indonesia (AP)

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

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.



From Belfast Telegraph