Indonesian rescuers struggle to reach cut-off villages after deadly quake

Indonesian people carry an injured woman in Pemenang, North Lombok on August 6, 2018, the day after a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the area. (AFP)
Updated 07 August 2018
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Indonesian rescuers struggle to reach cut-off villages after deadly quake

  • Quakes continue to rattle the island, including a 5.5 magnitude tremor at around 2 a.m. (1800 GMT Monday), Indonesia’s meteorology and geophysics agency said (BMKG)
  • Tourists were still leaving Lombok on Tuesday, some seen riding in military buses while others took ferries to Bali to the west of Lombok

PEMENANG, Indonesia: Indonesian rescue workers and military personnel resumed their search for survivors and evacuated more victims on the tourist island of Lombok on Tuesday, two days after a major earthquake killed dozens, destroyed villages and stranded thousands.
The death toll since the 6.9 magnitude quake on Sunday has reached 98, including two on the neighboring island of Bali, and officials expect it to rise.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency (BNPB), said on Twitter rescuers were combing through rubble in their search for survivors.
In a separate statement, BNPB said rescue efforts faced difficulties in the worst-hit area of northern Lombok but provided few details. Nugroho told a news briefing on Monday some areas there were cut off after bridges collapsed.
Riduan, a 45-year old man whose house in Karangkauhan on Lombok was partially destroyed, said he had received no aid so far and had to buy food on his own.
“We don’t get anything,” he said while trying to rescue documents from his house.
Quakes continue to rattle the island, including a 5.5 magnitude tremor at around 2 a.m. (1800 GMT Monday), Indonesia’s meteorology and geophysics agency said (BMKG).
A total of 230 aftershocks were recorded by Tuesday morning, BMKG data showed.
Lombok had already been hit by a 6.4 quake on July 29 that killed 17 people and briefly stranded several hundred trekkers on the slopes of a volcano.
Tourists were still leaving Lombok on Tuesday, some seen riding in military buses while others took ferries to Bali to the west of Lombok.
Officials said more than 2,000 people had been evacuated from the three Gili islands off the northwest coast of Lombok, where fears of a tsunami had spread soon after the quake.
Tourists and Gili residents alike were seeking to leave the islands, according to Indonesia’s search and rescue agency.
There was no official figure for how many tourists were on the islands, with numbers jumping from an original estimate of about 1,000.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is regularly hit by earthquakes. In 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami killed 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.


French police clear fuel protesters as movement wanes

Updated 21 November 2018
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French police clear fuel protesters as movement wanes

PARIS: French police cleared demonstrators blocking roads and fuel depots Tuesday in a crackdown on the so-called "yellow vest" protests against President Emmanuel Macron that have left two people dead.
Hundreds of thousands of people blockaded roads across France on the weekend, wearing high-visibility yellow vests in a national wave of defiance aimed at 40-year-old centrist Macron.
The protests had waned by Tuesday but the disruption underlined the anger and frustration felt by many motorists, particularly in rural areas or small towns, fed up with what they see as the government's anti-car policies, including tax hikes on diesel.
Macron, who has made a point of not backing down in the face of public pressure during his time in office, called Tuesday for more "dialogue" to better explain his policies.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, meanwhile, urged ruling Republic On The Move lawmakers to stand firm in the face of voter criticism, saying the party would reap the rewards of its "constancy and determination".
Two people have been accidentally killed and 530 people injured, 17 seriously, over four days of protests that have come to encompass a wide variety of grievances over the rising cost of living.
A 37-year-old motorcyclist died Tuesday from injuries sustained a day earlier after being hit by a truck making a u-turn to avoid a roadblock in the southeast Drome region, a judicial source said.
The other victim was a 63-year-old woman accidently killed by a panicked driver in the eastern Savoie region on the first day of protests.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has instructed police to break up the remaining roadblocks, particularly those around fuel depots and sites of strategic importance.
"We can see today that there are real excesses from a movement that was for the most part conducted in good spirit on Saturday," he told France 2 TV.
The ministry said about 20 "strategic" sites and fuel depots in several regions were cleared of protesters Tuesday.
Some hardliners kept blockades and slowdowns at some tolls, motorway junctions, and roundabouts.
"The movement won't run out of steam," said Olivier Garrigues, a farmworker at one protest in the south. "There are less people because everyone is working. But we are organised."
Several of the injuries were caused by motorists trying to force their way through roadblocks, but some protesters have also been accused of intimidating and endangering motorists.
A 32-year-old man with a history of violence was given a four-month prison sentence by a Strasbourg court for putting lives at risk by taking part in a human chain across a motorway.
Protests have also erupted in Reunion, a French overseas territory island in the Indian Ocean, where authorities introduced a partial curfew in some neighbourhoods after a night of violence.
AFP judicial sources Tuesday denied media reports that a group of men arrested earlier this month in the city of Saint-Etienne on suspicion of plotting an attack had planned to strike during Saturday's fuel protests.
On Tuesday, the "yellow vests" appeared to be losing steam, with only a fraction of the nearly 300,000 people that manned the barricades on Saturday still camped out in the bitter cold.
Further protests are planned for the weekend, with some calling for a blockade of Paris.
The grassroots movement, which has won backing from opposition parties on both the left and right as well as a majority of respondents in opinion polls, accuses Macron of squeezing the less well-off while reducing taxes for the rich.
"It's about much more than fuel. They (the government) have left us with nothing," Dominique, a 50-year-old unemployed technician told AFP at a roadblock in the town of Martigues, near the southern city of Marseille.
Macron's government, trying to improve its environmental credentials, has vowed not to back down on trying to wean people off their cars through fuel taxes.
The government has unveiled a 500-million-euro package of measures to help low-income households, including energy subsidies and higher scrappage bonuses for the purchase of cleaner vehicles.