100 Dead as 6.9-magnitude Earthquake Shakes Bali and Lombok, Indonesia

The morning light revealed the extent of the damage in the wake of the magnitude-6.9 quake that struck Lombok. (Reuters: Antara Foto/Ahmad Subaidi)
The morning light revealed the extent of the damage in the wake of the magnitude-6.9 quake that struck Lombok. (Reuters: Antara Foto/Ahmad Subaidi)

A strong earthquake has struck the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok, killing at least 98 people and shaking neighbouring Bali.

Evacuation efforts are continuing to transport the thousands of tourists stranded on the island, one week after another quake on Lombok killed more than a dozen.

The magnitude-6.9 quake struck at a depth of 15 kilometres early on Sunday evening in the northern part of Lombok, triggering a brief tsunami warning and damaging buildings as far away as Denpasar in Bali. It was followed by aftershocks as strong as magnitude-5.4.

On Lombok, thousands fled from their homes to gather for safety in open spaces, but a tsunami warning was lifted after waves just 15 centimetres high were recorded in three villages.

The ABC’s Indonesia correspondent David Lipson said a witness on the nearby Gili Islands reported thousands of people fleeing to higher ground.

There are also reports of fatalities on the Gili Islands, situated off Lombok’s north-west coast.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said most of the deaths were in North Lombok district.

Thousands of houses were damaged, and most of those killed were hit by collapsed houses, he said. The agency said 236 people were injured.

People described fleeing into the open as buildings crumbled, with thousands destroyed. Tourists have flocked to airports, with some told they will have to wait days for flights home.

Jen Montgomery-Lay is a Canadian tourist stranded on Lombok, hoping to leave.

“There are no flights available for the next two days,” she said.

“We were told that there were boats that could get us off the island [Tuesday] morning, and so we booked them, and then they called us to tell us that there were no boats, no fast ferries.

“We’re not entirely sure how we’re going to be able to get off the island.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is contacting the Indonesian President on Monday to offer Australia’s help to cope with the earthquake.

“We always reach out to our neighbours when natural disasters strike,” he said.

Mr Turnbull said there were no reports at this stage of Australians being injured by the quake.

“Obviously Australians have been affected, they felt the shock, including Minister Peter Dutton who was at a counter-terrorism conference in Lombok,” he said.

“There are a lot of Australians in Indonesia at any time, so our consular services will be doing everything they can to ascertain the safety of Australians.”

Mr Dutton said his delegation was safe but had to be evacuated from its hotel.

“Very grateful to Indonesian police and authorities and the AFP,” he tweeted.

“We are not yet aware of the extent of the damage, but thoughts and prayers are with those impacted.”

Australia’s consul-general to Bali Helena Studdert said Australians should follow the instructions of local authorities during the emergency.

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