Published: Sat, August 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Indonesia quake: Operation underway to rescue thousands of tourists

Indonesia quake: Operation underway to rescue thousands of tourists

Almost 1,500 people have been hospitalized with serious injuries and more than 156,000 have been displaced due to the extensive damage to thousands of homes.

That was a rare piece of good news as hopes of finding more survivors faded and a humanitarian crisis loomed for thousands left homeless by the disaster in the rural area and in desperate need of clean water, food, medicine and shelter.

Aid organizations, already on Lombok after it was hit a week earlier by a 6.4 quake that killed 16 people, said they were stepping up their humanitarian efforts.

"We have limited human resources".

"The scale of this quake is massive for us here in West Nusa Tenggara, this is our first experience". "Some paramedics have to be at the shelters, some need to be mobile", Majdi said.

Across much of the island, once-bustling villages have been turned into virtual ghost towns.

Arifin Mohammad Hadi, the spokesman of the Red Cross said, "In some villages we visited the destruction was nearly 100 percent, all houses collapsed, roads are cracked and bridges were broken".

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"Thousands more, tourists and hotel workers, are still in the process of being evacuated out of the three island", the disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) said in a statement on Monday evening.

"It's typical of quake victims in Indonesia, they want to stay close to their livelihood, they can't bring their livestock to the shelters", Hadi said. The shallow tremor sent thousands of Lombok residents and tourists scrambling outdoors, where many spent the night as strong aftershocks including one of 5.3-magnitude continued to rattle the island.

Rescuers carry the body of an quake victim recovered from the collapsed Jabal Nur Mosque in North Lombok, Indonesia, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018.

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.

Among other major buildings to collapse were a health clinic, government offices and other public facilities, he added.

Australian diplomats are working with the Indonesian navy to evacuate about 150 Australians still stranded on Gili Islands after the Lombok natural disaster.

The island is popular with tourists and now about 1,000 foreign visitors have been evacuated to nearby islands. Lombok's airport was now open around the clock and had significantly increased its flight schedule.

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