At least 5 people were killed by a strong earthquake that struck the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok and the neighboring island of Sumbawa Sunday evening.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said Monday the deaths from the 6.9-magnitude quake were mainly the result of debris from collapsing buildings. The quake occurred just hours after a 6.3-magnitude quake shook Lombok, cutting off power to many parts of the island.
Nugroho said hundreds of aftershocks have been recorded since Sunday’s earthquakes, which triggered landslides on parts of Lombok and had residents fleeing into the streets in panic.
Sunday’s quakes come just two weeks after an earthquake on the same island left more than 400 dead.
Ninik Rahayu of Ombudsman Indonesia, told VOA’s Indonesian service that she was asked to leave her hotel in Lombok Sunday. “We frantically run outside,” she said. The hotel management prevented guests from going back in “because there are some aftershocks,” she added.
“This is probably the fifth big earthquake today,” Sumbawa resident Muta Aryani told VOA. She said village officials asked the panicked residents to move to a safer place. “Now we are in a big field,” she said.
Landslides were reported in a national park Sunday on Mount Rinjani, where hundreds were trapped after a July 29 earthquake that killed 17 people. The park has been closed since then.
The 6.9-magnitude earthquake that struck on Aug. 5 killed 436 people and forced more than 350,000 people to flee their homes.
Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and geologic fault lines in the Pacific Ocean Basin. In December 2004, a magnitude-9.1 earthquake off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.
VOA’s Indonesian service contributed to this report.