Fourteen people have died after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck the popular tourist island of Lombok in Indonesia Sunday, damaging more than 1,000 homes and sending residents fleeing for safety.
The earthquake hit early in the morning, at about 5.45 a.m. local time (6:45 p.m. Saturday ET), the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said, at a shallow depth of just 7.5 kilometers (4.6 miles).
Speaking to CNN, the owner of a hotel in West Lombok said Sunday’s quake was the strongest he had experienced on the island.
According to Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency, at least 162 people have been injured by the tremors, which occurred about 140 miles east of Bali.
The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is trying to determine how many people are missing. Volunteers joined police and rescue teams to assist the wounded and look for survivors.
Among the dead were a Malaysian citizen, according to Indonesia’s National Disaster Search and Rescue agency, with casualties mainly found in Lombok’s north and east districts.
Earthquake hit as people slept
Jean Paul Volchaert, who owns the Puncak Hotel on Lombok, told CNN that the area gets small earthquakes “every month or so.”
“We were still sleeping when we felt the earthquake, so we rushed outside of our building. There was about 20 seconds of shaking, the water in the pool was making quite large waves,” he said.
“Luckily there was no damage to our building, our neighborhood was relatively untouched, but I know there have been casualties and a lot of damage in the north of the island,” Volchaert said. “We felt aftershocks for two hours after the initial earthquake, so we’re worried that there could be more damage caused.”
The Indonesian Red Cross said on Twitter that Lombok’s Sembalun district appeared to be the hardest-hit. The organization said its teams were helping with search and rescue.
The US Embassy in Jakarta tweeted that hiking at Mt Rinjani had been suspended due to landslides and that Bali airport was operating as normal.
Officials in Australia, India and Indonesia did not issue a tsunami advisory.
Ring of Fire
Model and TV personality Chrissy Teigen tweeted that she felt the quake in Bali.
“Oh my. Long earthquake here in Bali,” she said in an initial post.
That was followed a couple of hours later with: “Oh don’t mind us just more earthquakes over here.” Teigen had been tweeting prior to that about her family vacation in Bali with her husband, singer John Legend, and their two children.
The Indonesian archipelago, where Lombok and Bali are located, is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of intense seismic and volcanic activity.
The 40,000-kilometer (25,000-mile) area stretches from the boundary of the Pacific Plate and the smaller plates such as the Philippine Sea plate to the Cocos and Nazca Plates that line the edge of the Pacific Ocean.