82 killed as powerful quake jolts Indonesia

Jakarta: At least 82 people have been killed after a powerful earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale jolted the Indonesian island of Lombok, officials said.

Also, hundreds of people have been wounded by Sunday’s quake, disaster management officials said, BBC reported.

The magnitude seven tremor was shallow, happening only 10 km underground. It damaged thousands of buildings and triggered power cuts.

In the neighbouring island of Bali, video footage showed people running from their homes screaming.

The quake comes a week after another quake hit Lombok, a popular tourist site for its beaches and hiking trails, killing at least 16 people.

A tsunami warning was issued but was lifted after a few hours.

A spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency said many buildings had been affected in Lombok’s main city of Mataram, most of them built with weak construction materials.

Mataram residents described a powerful jolt that sent people fleeing from buildings.

“Everyone immediately ran out of their homes, everyone is panicking,” one resident named as Iman said.

In several parts of Mataram, there were electricity blackouts.

Patients at the city hospital, and also at Denpasar hospital in Bali, were evacuated and tended to by doctors in the streets.

Debris littered the streets of Lombok and Bali, which local people sought to clean up in the hours after the quake.

The quake was felt for several seconds in Bali, where people ran out of buildings.

A worker in Bali’s capital city Denpasar described the scene to the BBC.

“They were initially just little shocks but then they started to get bigger and bigger and people started to shout ‘earthquake’, then all the staff panicked and rushed out of the building,” the unnamed man said.

Singapore’s Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam was in Lombok for a security conference when the earthquake struck.

He described on Facebook how his hotel room shook violently. “It was quite impossible to stand up,” he said.

Airports on both Lombok and Bali are both operating normally despite some minor damage – at Bali’s Denpasar airport some ceiling panels were shaken loose by the tremors.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because it lies on the Ring of Fire — the line of frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions that circles virtually the entire Pacific rim.