JAKARTA, Indonesia — A powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck the popular tourist destination of Lombok, east of Bali, on Sunday, killing at least 12 people and sending villagers fleeing into open fields to avoid collapsing buildings.
“We jumped out of our beds to avoid anything falling on our heads,” said Jean-Paul Volckaert, who was woken by the quake at the hotel he runs near Senggigi, on the western side of the island of Lombok.
“The water in the pools was swaying like a wild sea,” he said by telephone.
Electricity was cut off in the worst-hit area, Sembalun, a sparsely populated area of rice paddies on the northern side of the island.
A 30-year-old Malaysian woman visiting Mount Rinjani National Park there, a popular trekking destination, was among those killed, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency.
The park was closed temporarily because of the possibility of landslides, he said in a statement.
“People are gathering on the streets and empty fields to avoid collapsing buildings,” said Mr. Nugroho, who posted photographs on Twitter of houses with fallen-in roofs and walls. “The main focus now is evacuation and rescue. Some of the injured are still being treated at clinics.”
An emergency tent was set up on a street in Sembalun to treat the injured because the local hospital was damaged, and those in a critical condition were taken to other hospitals.
“Suddenly everything simply collapsed,” said Siti Sumarni, a Sembalun resident. “My child was inside the house; thankfully he survived.”
Standing outside a green tent set up on a dusty field, she said nothing was left of her house.
The earthquake struck at 6:47 a.m. on Sunday, and its shallow depth would have amplified its effect. It was followed by scores of aftershocks, the largest recorded at a magnitude of 5.7, Indonesia’s Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysics Agency said.
While earthquakes are common in Indonesia, which is on the seismically active Ring of Fire that surrounds the shores of the Pacific, a quake with a magnitude of 6.4 is considered strong and can cause severe damage.
More than 100 people were killed in December 2016 when an earthquake with a similar magnitude shook the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
Sunday’s earthquake was on land and did not set off any high waves or tsunami.
Orignially published in NYT.