Rescue operations under way after Indonesia’s Lombok island hit by powerful quake

1 / 4
Search and rescue personnel search for victims trapped under the ruins of a collapsed mosque in quake-stricken Lombok island as a digger clears debris on Monday, Aug. 6. (Photo: Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency/BNPB)
2 / 4
Search and rescue personnel search for victims trapped under the ruins of a collapsed mosque in quake-stricken Lombok island as a digger clears debris on Monday, Aug. 6. (Photo: Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency/BNPB)
3 / 4
Search and rescue personnel search for victims trapped under the ruins of a collapsed mosque in quake-stricken Lombok island as a digger clears debris on Monday, Aug. 6. (Photo: Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency/BNPB)
4 / 4
Floating military hospital KRI Dr. Soeharso being prepared on Monday, Aug. 6 to depart from a naval base in Surabaya to Lombok to help victims of a strong earthquake that shook the island on Sunday, Aug 5. (Photo: Indonesian military/TNI media office)
Updated 07 August 2018
0

Rescue operations under way after Indonesia’s Lombok island hit by powerful quake

  • Search for survivors of the earthquake that hit Indonesian islands of Lombok and Bali last night continues as death toll rises to 98
  • The quake measured 7.0 on the Richter scale with 47 aftershocks recorded in two and a half hours, causing panic

JAKARTA: Quake-stricken residents of Lombok island in central Indonesia are reeling from two powerful earthquakes that struck the island in just a week, as a search-and-rescue operation was under way to look for more casualties trapped under the debris of collapsed buildings.

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

“A backhoe has been deployed to search for victims trapped under the rubble of a mosque in Lading-Lading village as they were praying when the quake struck,” Nugroho said.

Nugroho said all the dead are Indonesians and there were no foreigners among the victims.

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.

“Rescuers are still unable to reach all areas affected but they continue to scour those areas to evacuate victims. We continue to compile the data,” he said.

There have been 176 aftershocks recorded so far, but with decreasing intensity.

Nugroho added that all 2,700 foreign and domestic tourists have been evacuated from Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air, the three tourist islets off the northwestern coast of Lombok after nine boats were deployed to transport them to the mainland.

Taufan Rahmadi, founder of a local volunteer group, Friends of Tourists, said he and his group of volunteers have been assisting the tourists in their transfer from the islands to the airport in Mataram.

“I am in now in Bangsal port in North Lombok where tourists from the three Gilis are arriving. The transfers have been going smoothly so far,” Rahmadi told Arab News.

Desi Fitriana, who was attending a conference in the island’s main city of Mataram, said she had to evacuate the hotel where she had stayed since Friday and spent last night sleeping on the floors of Lombok airport.

“We weren’t allowed to go back to our hotel until this afternoon. We were finally able to freshen up at a hotel near the airport,” she told Arab News.

The military was deploying a floating military hospital, KRI Dr. Soeharso, from the naval base in Surabaya, East Java and will dock in the waters off Lombok.

The geophysics agency had issued a tsunami warning after the quake struck at 7.46 p.m. local time but it was lifted almost two hours later after the agency detected low rising tides.

Head of the geophysics agency Dwikorita Karnawati said in a televised press conference that despite the low rising tides, the agency still had to issue the warning and officials had to warn people to stay away from the coastal areas because the impact of the waves would depend on the coastal areas’ topography.

Television footage showed people were fleeing from buildings and crowding the streets as they tried to reach higher ground. The tremor was felt in the eastern part of East Java province and in the neighboring island of Bali, where some buildings, including the international airport Ngurah Rai, have been damaged.


Karnawati said the epicenter was on the northern slope of Mount Rinjani on the eastern part of the island and not far from the epicenter of last week’s 6.4 magnitude quake that left 19 dead and more than 1,000 domestic and foreign hikers trapped on the mountain because the quake triggered a landslide that blocked the hiking routes.

A regional ministerial-level conference on counterterrorism that was set to be held in Mataram on Monday had been canceled following the earthquake. Chief security minister Wiranto, who was hosting the event, was already on the island on Sunday.

He was hosting a welcoming dinner for his regional counterparts and their delegations from Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Myanmar when the quake struck.

The foreign ministry said a two-day regional conference on people smuggling with Indonesian and Australian foreign ministers in attendance was still being held on Monday and Tuesday as scheduled.


‘Huge’ challenges ahead as Cyril Ramaphosa takes presidential oath in South Africa

Updated 25 May 2019
0

‘Huge’ challenges ahead as Cyril Ramaphosa takes presidential oath in South Africa

  • Promised a new era in which officials will improve the lives of South Africans
  • South Africa is the world’s most economically unequal country

PRETORIA: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday urged the country to pursue “an extraordinary feat of human endeavor” as he was sworn in for a five-year term with a delicate fight against government corruption ahead of him.
“The challenges our country face are huge and real. But they are not insurmountable. They can be solved. And I stand here today saying they are going to be solved,” Ramaphosa told some 30,000 people in the capital, Pretoria, with several African leaders in attendance.
He promised a new era in which officials will improve the lives of South Africans instead of enriching themselves. He called for a state free from graft and “resources squandered,” and urged fellow citizens to end poverty in a generation. Both would be immense achievements: Corruption and mismanagement have consumed billions of rand, and South Africa is the world’s most economically unequal country.
Ramaphosa’s inauguration followed his ruling African National Congress party’s 57.5% victory in this month’s election. It was the party’s weakest showing at the ballot box since the ANC took power at the end of the harsh system of racial apartheid in 1994, as voter turnout and confidence fell.
Ramaphosa first took office last year after former president Jacob Zuma was pressured to resign amid corruption scandals that badly damaged public faith in the ANC. A former protege of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, Ramaphosa is seen by many as having the potential to clean up both the government and the ruling party’s reputation. Without him the ANC likely would have received just 40% of the vote, one party leader, Fikile Mbalula, has said.

------

ROYAL CONGRATULATIONS

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent Ramaphosa a cable of congratulations on his swearing in. 
The crown prince expressed his sincere congratulations, best wishes for success and further progress for the people of South Africa

------


There was no sign at Saturday’s ceremony of Zuma, who has insisted he did nothing wrong and that allegations are politically motivated. His allies within the ANC leadership pose a challenge to Ramaphosa as he pursues reforms.
Ahead of the election Ramaphosa apologized to South Africans for the political turmoil. He also vowed to continue the fight against graft that has hurt the country’s economy, the most developed in sub-Saharan Africa.
The president’s resolve to impose clean governance will be tested with the appointment of his new Cabinet in the coming days. He faces pressure from opposition parties and civil society to reduce the number of ministers — there are now 34 — and appoint ones who are scandal-free.
In a sign his efforts are working, former deputy president David Mabuza was not sworn in as a member of Parliament due to an incriminating report on him by the ANC’s integrity commission. For now, Ramaphosa is without a deputy.
In his speech on Saturday the president also addressed public frustration with joblessness, patchy delivery of basic services and the legacy of inequality. Unemployment is above 25% and much of the country’s wealth and private levers of power are held by the small white minority.
“Many South Africans still go to bed hungry,” Ramaphosa said. “Many live lives of intolerable deprivation. Too many of our people do not work, especially the youth.”
One challenge for the president in the years ahead is engaging potential voters in South Africa’s “Born Free” generation , who never experienced apartheid and unlike their parents see the ANC not as a party of liberation but one expected to deliver for the future.