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Tourists evacuated as Indonesia quake death toll rises

By KARL WILSON,YANG HAN | China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-07 04:28
A motorcycle is salvaged from a home near a damaged mosque on Monday in Gunungsari, West Lombok, Indonesia, after a deadly magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the resort island of Lombok on Sunday. AHMAD SUBAIDI / REUTERS

All tourists in Indonesia's quake-stricken resort island of Lombok, including 39 Chinese citizens, had been evacuated to safe areas by late Monday, according to China's consulate general in Denpasar, Bali.

The death toll from the quake, which was expected to grow, had risen to at least 98 Monday night, and more than 230 were seriously injured, the Associated Press reported.

There were no reports of any Chinese tourists killed or injured in Sunday's magnitude 7.0 earthquake, according to the Foreign Ministry's Department of Consular Affairs and the consulate general.

Some tourists in Lombok had left the island on scheduled flights, according to a statement from the consulate general on Monday. Two Hong Kong tourists on the nearby Nusa Penida island arrived safely on the island of Bali on Monday.

The Hong Kong Immigration Department said on Monday that it has received requests for assistance from eight Hong Kong residents in earthquake-affected areas, and they are confirmed to be safe.

Rescuers searched for survivors on Monday in the rubble of houses, mosques and schools destroyed in the disaster on Sunday evening.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said there were fears that a number of people were trapped in the ruins of a collapsed mosque in the northern village of Lading-Lading, Agence France-Presse reported.

Footage he posted on Twitter showed the large concrete mosque had pancaked.

A lack of heavy equipment and shattered roads were hampering efforts to reach survivors in the mountainous north and east of the island, which had been hardest hit.

Najmul Akhyar, the head of North Lombok district, estimated that 80 percent of that region was damaged by the quake.

"We expect the number of fatalities to keep rising," Nugroho said. "All victims who died are Indonesians."

The earthquake struck at 18:46 pm on Sunday with an epicenter 18 kilometers northwest of Lombok Timur in West Nusa Tenggara province.

Lombok island is just east of Bali island and less developed.

Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who was in Lombok for a counterterrorism meeting, told Sydney radio station 2GB that he was "shaken" and "very lucky" to escape.

Indonesia's chief security minister Wiranto was hosting a dinner on the 12th floor of a local hotel for Dutton and ministers from New Zealand and Myanmar when the quake struck, knocking people to the floor.

AFP and AP contributed to this story.

Contact the writers at kelly@chinadailyapac.com

An injured person is carried to a makeshift ward outside the Moh. Ruslan hospital in Mataram on Monday. The death toll from the quake had risen to at least 98 on Monday night. ADEK BERRY / AFP
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