The 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Lombok - one of the more popular holiday islands in Indonesia - on Sunday 29 July 2018 and killed 17 people was apparently only a harbinger of things to come. Exactly one week later, on Sunday 5 August 2018, a more powerful 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck the same island. This time it killed at least 91 people and damaged thousands of buildings. The number of casualties is likely to rise further in the hours or days ahead.
The latest earthquake, which was also felt on Bali and even on parts of East Java, immediately caused panic among local residents and the thousands of domestic and foreign tourists who were enjoying a holiday on the island in the high season.
Hundreds of tourists have left the island on Monday (06/08), while many more are still waiting to be evacuated (including from nearby islands such as the Gili Islands). Operations have not been disrupted at the international airports in Lombok and Bali.
Most of the casualties and damage that were caused by the latest earthquake are found in the mountainous northern and eastern part of Lombok, away from the main tourist spots that are located on the south and west of the island. There are also reports of damage on Bali, including houses, government buildings and Hindu temples.
National Disaster Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said an initial tsunami warning was later cancelled but it sparked great distress among people who were scrambling to reach safer ground. A small tsunami was felt in two villages. However, there are no reports of significant damage.
According to the US Geological Survey the shallow earthquake hit northern Lombok just ten kilometers underground and was followed by two further secondary quakes as well as about two dozen aftershocks. Authorities warn that more strong aftershocks may occur.
Power and communications have been cut in various areas on Lombok, while the Indonesian military announced that it is sending in vessels with medical aid, supplies and logistical support.