Sub-Regional Meeting on Counterterrorism Postponed After Lombok Earthquakes

Sub-Regional Meeting on Counterterrorism Postponed After Lombok Earthquakes

Soldiers have pulled a man alive from the rubble of a large mosque flattened by an quake, killing at least 105 people on the Indonesian island of Lombok, while thousands of homeless villagers waited for aid on Tuesday and stranded tourists camped at beaches and in the lobbies of damaged hotels.

A magnitude-7.0 quake struck right along the coast of the Indonesian island of Lombok, near Loloan village Sunday night local time (Aug. 5), according to Indonesian authorities. Appeals for medical personnel and basic supplies have been issued by authorities.

Military planes have since been scrambled to bring food, medicine, tents and water to island residents in desperate need of aid.

Aid agencies such as Oxfam are providing clean drinking water and tarpaulin sheets to about 5000 survivors and there are fears the death toll could rise significantly as more bodies are uncovered in the rubble of collapsed buildings.

Local authorities said Monday that the official death toll from Sunday's massive quake in Indonesia has climbed to at least 142, and more than two hundred people were injured.

"The number of victims keep rising", BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told reporters on Wednesday.

The death toll is expected to rise to about 140 as rescuers are struggling to reach the worst-affected areas where houses, schools and mosques have been reduced to rubble. "We don't get anything", he said as he tried to retrieve documents from the remains of his home.

"Many of our local staff have been left homeless and with limited access to food and water", Fiona said.

Taufan Rahmadi, founder of a local volunteer group, Friends of Tourists, said he and his group of volunteers have been assisting the tourists in their transfer from the islands to the airport in Mataram.

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The newspaper quoted a source as saying: "They certainly felt the quake. 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.

Rescuers in Lombok were said to be still pulling people out alive from the rubble, two days after the natural disaster.

"We're forced to deal with broken bones in the traditional way at home because the hospital had to deal with hundreds of other injuries", village head Budhiawan said.

For instance, a magnitude-7.7 natural disaster and related tsunami hit off the nearby island of Java on July 17, 2006, and on June 2, 1994, a magnitude-7.8 quake and related tsunami hit the area, according to the USGS.

His wife Maude, 44, said the family was on Bali for the first quake and Lombok for the second.

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. Among the many buildings destroyed on Lombok were two homes which housed around 80 underprivileged children.

Lombok's airport was now open around the clock and had significantly increased its flight schedule.

The devastation came 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 prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire, " an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Ocean Basin.

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