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Scores die as quake hits Indonesian island

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At least 91 people are now known to have died after a powerful earthquake hit the Indonesian island of Lombok.

Hundreds of people have been wounded by Sunday's quake, officials say, mostly in the north of the island.

The 6.9 magnitude tremor was fairly shallow, occurring only 30km (18 miles) underground. It damaged thousands of buildings and triggered power cuts.

About 1,000 foreign tourists are being evacuated from the nearby Gili islands and at least one person died on Bali.

Video footage from Bali, to the west of Lombok, showed people running from their homes screaming.

There have been more than 130 aftershocks since the quake hit on Sunday morning.

A tsunami warning was issued but was lifted after a few hours.

It comes a week after another quake hit Lombok, popular with tourists who visit its beaches and hiking trails. That quake killed at least 16 people.

'Everyone is panicking'
Lombok is a roughly 4,500 sq km (1,700 sq miles) island east of the slightly larger island of Bali.

The two islands are home to about three and four million people respectively, but each year are visited by millions of tourists from around the globe.

A spokesman for Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency told the AFP news agency that many buildings had been affected in Lombok's main city of Mataram. Most of them had been built with weak construction materials.

Mataram residents described a powerful jolt that sent people fleeing into the streets.

"Everyone immediately ran out of their homes, everyone is panicking," one resident named as Iman said.

In several parts of Mataram, there were electricity blackouts.

Patients at the city hospital, and also at Denpasar hospital in Bali, were evacuated and tended to by doctors in the streets.

Debris littered the streets of Lombok and Bali, which local people sought to clean up in the hours after the quake.

Bali tremor
The quake was felt for several seconds in Bali. One worker in Denpasar described the scene to the BBC.

"They were initially just little shocks but then they started to get bigger and bigger and people started to shout 'earthquake', then all the staff panicked and rushed out of the building," the unnamed man said.

Model and presenter Chrissy Teigen, who is on holiday in Bali, described 15 seconds of a tremor, followed by "so many aftershocks".

Singapore's Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam was in Lombok for a security conference when the earthquake struck.

He described on Facebook how his hotel room shook violently. "It was quite impossible to stand up," he said.

Australian Minister for Home Affairs and Immigration Peter Dutton who was also at the conference said his delegation was safe and thanked the Indonesian police and authorities for their work.

He tweeted on Monday morning that so far there were no reports of Australian casualties.

Gili evacuations
The quake has also affected the Gili Islands, three tiny islands just off the coast of Lombok, which are particularly popular with divers.

A tweet from the head of the Disaster Mitigation Agency said 1,000 foreign tourists were being evacuated from the islands.

"Some of them are hurt and are in shock," I Nyoman Sidakarya told TV One.

One disaster official has shared a video showing the scene on one beach, as people waited to leave.

He said there were a limited number of boats available so the evacuation was taking place gradually, but that more boats were on their way.

Airports on both Lombok and Bali are both operating normally despite some minor damage - at Bali's Denpasar airport some ceiling panels were shaken loose by the tremors.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because it lies on the Ring of Fire - the line of frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions that circles virtually the entire Pacific rim.

More than half of the world's active volcanoes above sea level are part of the ring.

Source : BBC



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