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Indonesia earthquake: At least 98 dead, 20,000 evacuated

By
Ed Adamczyk
Rescuers search for survivors after a strong earthquake struck Indonesia's Lombok island on Sunday. Photo by Adi Weda/EPA-EFE
Rescuers search for survivors after a strong earthquake struck Indonesia's Lombok island on Sunday. Photo by Adi Weda/EPA-EFE

Aug. 6 (UPI) -- The death toll from an earthquake that struck Indonesia's Lombok Island rose to 98 Monday, with thousands more displaced, officials said.

The 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit around 6:45 p.m. Sunday near the village of Loloan. It was followed by a series of aftershocks ranging from 4.7 to 5.4 in magnitude, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The epicenter was about 20 miles northwest of Labuan.

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Rescuers searched damaged buildings on Monday for survivors, and hospital patients were treated outdoors amid fears of structural collapse.

About 20,000 people have been evacuated from the area, which is also contending with a power failure. The Indonesian military sent ships, including a hospital ship, carrying heavy construction vehicles.

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Officials said an effort is underway to evacuate about 1,200 tourists from Gili island, which is popular with divers and backpackers.

"Most of the victims died after being struck by collapsing buildings," said national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. "There are challenges. The roads were damaged, three bridges were also damaged, some locations are difficult to reach and we don't have enough personnel."

He added that none of those killed were foreign tourists.

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Many of the deaths occurred in the northern part of the island in West Nusa Tenggara province.

Of those killed, one was a tourist on nearby Bali island and one on Gili island. The rest were on Lombok.

Lombok International Airport reopened Monday, but national airline Garuda International announced some flights to the island could be delayed.

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Sunday's quake came a week after a 6.4-magnitude temblor killed 17 people and stranded more than 500 hikers on an Indonesian volcano, also on Lombok Island.

The country's Joint Evacuation Team removed the hikers from Mount Rinjani last week.

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