The death toll of the Sunday earthquake on the Indonesian island of Lombok has raised to131 by Wednesday while 156,000 have been forced to leave their homes, the official figures said.
The 6.9-magnitude quake triggered panic among locals and tourists on Lombok Island just a week after another quake struck the holiday island and killed 17.
According to The Jakarta Post, around 1,477 people have been severely injured in the latest quake, with tens of thousands of homes damaged, and authorities have appealed for more medical personnel and basic supplies.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman of the national disaster agency, said, “We estimate the death toll of 131 will keep rising.”
On Wednesday, rescue workers with heavy machinery resumed searching through the rubble of homes, schools and mosques with hope of finding any survivors was fading.
Muhammad Zainul Majdi, the governor of West Nusa Tenggara province which covers Lombok island has alarmed about the dire need for medical staff, food and medicine in the worst affected areas.
Majdi said, “The scale of this quake is massive for us here in West Nusa Tenggara, this is our first experience.We have limited human resources. Some paramedics have to be at the shelters, some need to be mobile.”
Hundreds of injured victims have been treated outside damaged hospitals in the main city of Mataram and other affected areas..
One of the survivors Johriah said, “I saw my neighbour get stuck in the rubble and die. He asked me for help, but I couldn’t help him, we just ran to help ourselves.”
Makeshift encampments have popped up on the side of roads and rice fields, with many farmers reluctant to move far from their damaged homes and leave precious livestock behind.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian Red Cross had set up 10 mobile clinics in the north of the island and a field hospital had been established in Tanjung village.
Arifin Mohammad Hadi, the spokesman of the Red Cross said, “In some villages we visited the destruction was almost 100 percent, all houses collapsed, roads are cracked and bridges were broken”.
Local authorities, international relief groups and the central government have begun organising aid, but shattered roads have slowed efforts to reach survivors. The Indonesian military said that three Hercules transporter planes packed with much-needed supplies have now arrived in Lombok.
On Wednesday, the rescue workers using heavy equipment have resumed search for survivors in the mosque, now reduced to a pile of concrete and metal bars, with its towering green dome folded in on itself. So far, three dead bodies and one survivor were rescued from the wreckage.