Indonesia natural disaster: aid begins to arrive as death toll rises

Foreign tourists wait for transportation after arriving from the nearby Gili islands at the port in Bangsal northern Lombok island on August 6. ─ AFP

Foreign tourists wait for transportation after arriving from the nearby Gili islands at the port in Bangsal northern Lombok island on August 6. ─ AFP

Aid organisations, already on Lombok after it was hit a week earlier by a 6.4 quake that killed 16 people, said they were stepping up their humanitarian efforts. CBS2's Ben Tracy reports. Officials on the island, which is less developed than neighbouring Bali, said some districts saw more than half their homes either destroyed or severely damaged.

In a separate part of North Lombok on Tuesday, rescuers in Lading-Lading village pulled out a few bodies and one survivor from the collapsed Jabbal Nur mosque.

Tourists affected by a strong quake lined up on a beach as they waited to be evacuated on Gili Trawangan Island, Indonesia, Monday.

"In some villages we visited the destruction was nearly 100 percent, all houses collapsed, roads are cracked and bridges were broken", said Arifin Muhammad Hadi, a spokesman for the Indonesian Red Cross.

Indonesian rescue workers and military personnel resumed their search for survivors and evacuated more victims on the tourist island of Lombok on Tuesday, two days after a major quake killed dozens, destroyed villages and stranded thousands.

Indonesian rescue workers were still struggling Tuesday to reach the northern part of Lombok island, which was struck by a major 6.9 magnitude quake Sunday.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the country's National Disaster Mitigation Agency, told reporters Monday that most of those killed and injured were on the northern side of Lombok, which sustained massive damage.

Soldiers have pulled a man alive from the rubble of a large mosque that collapsed in northern Lombok during Sunday night's powerful quake. The number of victims was unknown. More than 156,000 people were displaced by the quake. "Where should we go if we have no house anymore, nowhere to live?" said the mother of 15- and 9-year-old girls. "The customers managed to escape, but he himself didn't", Sahril said.

A woman was pulled alive on Tuesday from under a grocery store that fell apart in the rural north of the tropical holiday island, near the epicenter of Sunday's quake.

At Lombok's airport, dozens of tourists slept on the floor as they waited for flights off the island. "The whole place we were in just shook".




Users took to Facebook to express concern for those affected by the natural disaster, employing the Indonesian word "selamat"-which can mean safe or unhurt, but can also mean congratulations depending on the context". On Lombok, soldiers and other rescuers carried the injured on stretchers and carpets. The warning was lifted after only small waves were recorded.

"We don't get anything", he said while trying to rescue documents from his house. "The locals were screaming and shouting and we had no idea as to what was going on".

The disaster may be a jolt to those ambitions, but officials say they are not anxious. We're all relying on the government to help.

On Gili Trawangan, one of three popular vacation islands near Lombok, thousands of tourists and local residents spent the night on a hill fearing a tsunami. "All the locals were frantically running and screaming, putting on lifejackets". "We spoke to a lot of them and they were panicking about their family in Lombok". The islands, famous for their white sandy beaches and clear waters, are located near the epicenter.

Nugroho said authorities deployed ships to evacuate people from the three islands.

Makeshift encampments have popped up on the side of roads and rice fields, with many farmers reluctant to move far from their damaged homes and leave precious livestock behind. Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is regularly hit by major temblors.

Meanwhile, the Bali Process meeting in Nusa Dua will proceed as scheduled on Monday and Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement sent via WhatsApp. "Came out, and made my way down a staircase, while building was still shaking. But people out in the villages or elsewhere haven't been so lucky, unfortunately".

He lives two doors away from his aunt's home. Neighbours heard cries for help from the mangled concrete and alerted rescuers, who took four hours to extract her.

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