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Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Lombok natural disaster leaves 156,000 homeless as death toll hits 131

Lombok natural disaster leaves 156,000 homeless as death toll hits 131

At least 105 people were killed and 230 were injured in the magnitude 6.9 quake, which hit the tourist island of Lombok on Sunday night.

As hopes of finding more survivors faded, a humanitarian crisis loomed for thousands left homeless and in desperate need of clean water, food, medicine and shelter.

At a collapsed mosque in Bangsal district, emergency workers in orange uniforms removed a woman's body from the ruins on Wednesday morning.

Spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said there are reports of other deaths but they still need to be verified. Authorities say the death toll of 131 is likely to rise.

Roads between villages such Kayangan and Gangga in the far north of the island were cracked wide open - in some places by more than a foot - bridges have suffered extensive damage, huge trees have been ripped out of the ground and evidence of landslides was frequent.

He and his family had briefly returned to their homes, he said, to claim the food and water they could but that was now running out.

"We were sitting there having dinner at about 7 o'clock last night, we just felt a really big sort of shaking and the lights went off and everyone just ran", Australian tourist Kim Liebelt said as he waited with other travelers for a flight out at Lombok's worldwide airport. Tens of thousands of homes have collapsed.

"We stood still when we first felt the natural disaster, but the sway grew stronger so we tried to run before the mosque collapsed", Muhammad, a worshipper who managed to escape, told the Metro TV.

Sarah and Adam, who are in their early 20s, had been staying on the Gili Islands before moving to Canggu in Bali - and it was there that they felt the earth tremble. "He asked me for help, but I couldn't help him, we just ran to help ourselves", Johriah, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP tearfully.

Sunday's natural disaster was the second deadly quake to hit Lombok in a week.

It was the second deadly quake in a week to hit Lombok.

"We've had light earthquakes in the past, but never anything like this", said Marcel De Rijk, owner of Lombok boutique hotel chain Puri Mas Resort, whose beachside hotel and villas will stay closed until September for repairs.

Officials said about 4,600 foreign and domestic tourists had been evacuated from the three Gili islands off the northwest coast of Lombok, where two people died and fears of a tsunami spread soon after the quake.

Lombok, which is located east of Bali and makes up part of the Lesser Sunda Island chain, is a popular tourist destination known for mountains, beaches and surf. One Indonesian official told the BBC that 80 percent of the island had been impacted.

The devastation comes exactly a week after the region was hit by a 6.4 magnitude quake that left at least 15 people dead and 162 injured.

Indonesia is defined by string of volatile volcanoes stretching for thousands of miles, as it is situated on the so-called Ring of Fire around the Pacific.

The Bali and Lombok airports continued operating on Sunday night, according to the director general of civil aviation.

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