Quakes cut power, topple buildings on Indonesian island


Associated Press

SEMBALUN, INDONESIA

A strong earthquake has cut power across the Indonesian island of Lombok and destroyed buildings as the tourist hotspot tries to recover from a temblor earlier this month that killed hundreds of people.

The shallow magnitude 6.9 quake that hit just after 10 p.m. Sunday was one of multiple powerful earthquakes in the northeast of the island that also caused landslides. The nighttime quake was followed by strong aftershocks.

An Associated Press reporter in Sembalun subdistrict, on the island’s northeast in the shadow of Mount Rinjani, said the latest quake caused panic, but many people were already staying in tents after the deadly quake in early August and its hundreds of aftershocks.

There was no immediate official information about casualties.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said power was cut across the island, hampering efforts to assess the situation. Some houses and other buildings in Sembalun had collapsed, it said.

“People panicked and scattered,” said disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. “Some people are hysterical because they feel earthquake aftershocks that are harder than before. They heard a roar that probably came from landslides in the hills and Mount Rinjani.”

Dwikorita Karnawatim, who heads Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency, said buildings that haven’t collapsed so far have suffered repeated stress, and authorities have urged people to avoid both the mountain’s slopes and weakened buildings.

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