The official death toll of the earthquake and its aftershocks in the Indonesian island of Lombok is 259. The initial earthquake on 5 August measured 6.9 on the Richter scale.
Since then, the area has been ravaged by more than 300 aftershocks, with the worst occurring on 9 August local time. The epicentre of Thursday’s quake was 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) northwest of Lombok with a depth of 12 kilometres (7.5 miles)
More than 270,000 people have now been displaced by the earthquakes.
Death toll rises to 259 from Sunday's quake in Indonesia's Lombok island https://t.co/sjLNwPSAJi
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) August 9, 2018
There were chaotic scenes in Lombok and surrounding areas with residents fleeing their homes and in some cases running screaming out of evacuation centres.
“There was one person who fell from the stairs because the tremor shook the stairs when they tried to get out of the building,” Lombok local Ragga told CNN Indonesia.
Indonesian Red Cross said there were more than 20,000 people in need of aid across the region. A humanitarian crisis is unfolding with many in dire need of water, food, medicine and emergency shelter.
The full impact of the earthquakes is still becoming clear
Rescue workers expect to recover more bodies as they work through the masses of rubble and destruction. Officials said of the current death toll: “This number will continue increasing as rescue teams continue to find victims under collapsed buildings.”
Benjamin William, CEO of Singapore Red Cross, said the second major earthquake in the region had added to the destruction.
“The full extent of the devastation is slowly unfolding, with many fatalities and hundreds of collapsed houses and buildings. Some of the affected areas have yet to be reached by rescuers, so the damage and casualties will rise.”
Local media had the death toll as high as 347 at one point, but this has now been revised.
More than 150,000 people were displaced by the original earthquake. Many people in the region are sleeping outside or on the roadside after their homes have been destroyed. Others fear to return to their homes due to the ongoing aftershocks.
A strong aftershock sent residents fleeing from their homes as it rattled the Indonesian island of Lombok. https://t.co/QvIrNpc2gm
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 9, 2018
Endri Susanto from the Lombok Forgotten Children emergency aid foundation said even getting into the region had become difficult.
“Last time I go to Northern part of Lombok I need only one hour and one-and-a-half hour. Now we need like four hour,” he said.
“So now it’s like a traffic jam, it’s very, very long to the northern part of Lombok.”
Indonesia is located in the ‘Ring of Fire’ region and is prone to earthquake activity. It was hit by another major earthquake as recently as 29 July, when hundreds of climbers were left stranded on a mountain when earthquakes triggered landslides and made exit paths inaccessible.