'From high season to absolutely nothing' - Indonesian quake devastates tourism

People affected by the earthquake rest at a temporary shelter in Lombok Indonesia Sunday Aug. 5 2018. —AP

People affected by the earthquake rest at a temporary shelter in Lombok Indonesia Sunday Aug. 5 2018. —AP

Foreign and domestic tourists fled after Sunday's natural disaster of magnitude 6.9 destroyed homes and displaced tens of thousands of people, adding to the havoc from an earlier quake on 29 July, although of smaller magnitude, at 6.4.

Mr Zainul said there was an urgent need for medical staff, food and medicine in the worst-hit areas.

North Lombok district, the area closest to the epicenter, is the hardest-hit area and the number of deaths is expected to increase as a rescue operation is under way with thousands of buildings damaged in most parts of the island.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the death toll from the magnitude-7 quake that struck the island on Sunday evening has risen from 91 to 98, including two deaths in Bali and 236 injured.

Around 1,477 people are severely injured, with tens of thousands of homes damaged.

"We're pushing about 40 hours without sleep", Montgomery-Lay said. Guntur said the food truck had been effective, practical and economical for tourists, noting that its existence will be evaluated for future use.

An evacuation is now underway on surrounding islands, affecting locals and thousands of tourists. "Clean drinking water is scarce due to the extremely dry weather".

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

"It went from high season just a few days ago to absolutely nothing now", lamented Howard Singleton, who owns a beachside restaurant in the west coast town of Senggigi, ravished by striking sunset views of a volcano on neighbouring Bali.

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. "We didn't know that it was an natural disaster and just thought of it to be a very bad storm", Mulraney said, who arrived in Indonesia on July 29 for a holiday with her friend.

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The Straits Times saw an excavator digging through the rubble of the mosque as anxious villagers looked on, hoping that people were still alive under the ruins.

"We don't get anything", he said while trying to rescue documents from his house.

Officials said that almost 8,400 tourists and resort workers had been evacuated from the three Gili islands off the northwest coast of Lombok, where two people died, emptying out a destination popular for its white beaches and turquoise waters.

The quake was the second in a week to hit Lombok.

Like Bali, Lombok is known for its pristine beaches and mountains.

Around 200,000 people live in northern Lombok and the government estimates 20,000 people are in need of assistance, with around 80 percent of buildings destroyed.

The Bali and Lombok airports have stayed open.

That's because the region sits smack-dab along the so-called ring of fire-an imaginary, horseshoe-shape line that follows the rim of the Pacific Ocean and marks spots where several tectonic plates collide.

The body of 60-year-old Abdul Malik, one of at least 105 people killed in Sunday's 6.9 magnitude quake, would have to stay under the rubble for a third day.

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