The official death toll from a powerful weekend earthquake on the Indonesian island of Lombok rose to 105 on Tuesday as rescuers raced to find survivors buried in their homes, shops and mosques, and thousands of homeless families faced another night in the open.
House after house lay in a jagged mound of collapsed rafters and masonry on the jammed, damaged road to northern Lombok, a more residential and less developed part of the island which was close to the epicentre of Sunday’s shallow 6.9 magnitude quake.
Most of those killed were struck by falling debris from buildings and thousands are now too scared or simply unable to return to their destroyed homes, sheltering instead under tarpaulin tents in open fields. Aid agencies have appealed for safe water, food and medical supplies.
Muhammad Anwar from a village in the area of Pemenang, north Lombok, was seen pulling down his front wall, the only part of his home still standing, to salvage his family’s belongings.
Alhamdulillah ada korban yang bisa diselamatkan dari masjid yang roboh diguncang gempa 7 SR di Desa Lading-Lading Kecamatan Tanjung Kabupaten Lombok Utara. Evakuasi masih terus dilakukan oleh tim SAR gabungan. Semoga banyak yang bisa diselamatkan. pic.twitter.com/hJ0NKZUB53
— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) August 6, 2018
"Everybody in my family, we are all, thank God, fine. But my next door neighbours, all of them but one are severely injured, with broken bones all over their bodies,” he told the Telegraph.
“There was a little girl, my other neighbour, she died, crushed under the debris of her own house. Every house in my village, 40 families, all our homes, gone."
Few buildings were left standing in Kayangan on the island’s northern end, where residents told Reuters that as many as 40 had died.
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Braving powerful aftershocks, some villagers used sledgehammers and ropes to start clearing the rubble. About 75 per cent of the north has been without electricity Sunday and there has been little government relief for communities cut off by collapsed bridges and fallen trees.
In a rare piece of good news on Tuesday, a young woman was pulled alive from the ruins of a grocery store.
Footage posted online by disaster agency officials also showed a man being extracted by soldiers from the twisted wreckage of the Jabal Nur mosque in the village of Lading-Lading. The video showed the man sobbing with relief as one rescuer told him: “You’re safe sir, you’re safe.”
The tremor struck as evening prayers were being said across the Muslim-majority island.
"We estimate there are still more victims because we found many sandals in front of the mosque," national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told reporters.
Villagers told The Telegraph they estimated about 40 people had been inside, including the head imam, but one official said the teams had so far found no further signs of life.
The number of seriously injured has now topped 230 people. Hospitals have been overwhelmed and some patients are being treated in corridors or outside.
Nazila Rakmah, 13, was being cradled by her mother Wardiah at the West Nusa Tenggara hospital in Lombok’s main town of Mataram after an operation to reduce swelling on a head injury.
Her mother described how she had run in a panic towards the village mosque as the ground began to shake and was struck by flying debris.
“Her father saw her and it took more than 15 men to lift up the debris she was pinned under. It took maybe 15 minutes for them to free her up,” she said.
“She’s still not well, she slurred, she still can’t recognise us. We had to restrain her as she fought us trying to get up,” said Wardiah.
Sunday’s quake was the second strong tremor to rock the tropical island in a week. A 6.4 magnitude earthquake on July 29 killed 17 people and briefly stranded several hundred trekkers on the slopes of a volcano.
Some 4,600 tourists have now been evacuated from the Gili Islands, although some remain stranded at the main airport in Mataram, waiting for flights out.