Death toll from Indonesia quake tops 380

The powerful earthquake struck the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok, killing a number of people and shaking neighboring Bali, as authorities on Monday said thousands of houses were damaged and the death toll could climb. (AP)
Updated 11 August 2018

Death toll from Indonesia quake tops 380

  • The shallow 6.9-magnitude quake Sunday levelled tens of thousands of homes, mosques and businesses across Lombok
  • The number forced from their homes in the disaster has soared to 387,000, Nugroho said, with around 13,000 injured

MATARAM, Indonesia: An earthquake on the Indonesian island of Lombok has killed 387 people, authorities said Saturday, adding hundreds of thousands of displaced people were still short of clean water, food and medicine nearly a week on.
The shallow 6.9-magnitude quake Sunday levelled tens of thousands of homes, mosques and businesses across Lombok, just one week after another tremor surged through the island and killed 17.
“It’s predicted the death toll will continue to grow because there are still victims who are suspected of being buried by landslides and under rubble, and there are victims that have not been recorded and reported to posts,” national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.
The number forced from their homes in the disaster has soared to 387,000, Nugroho said, with around 13,000 injured.
The hardest hit region of Lombok has been in the north, where 334 people have died and nearly 200,000 have been forced from their homes, according to latest official tolls.
Two people were also killed by the quake on the neighboring tourist island of Bali.
Nugroho said the emergency response period has been extended another 14 days, which would allow authorities to deal with the “many problems” that still existed in the field.
Most of the displaced are sleeping under tents or tarpaulins near their ruined homes or in evacuation shelters, while makeshift medical facilities have been set up to treat the injured.
Six days after the quake hit some evacuees have still not received assistance, particularly in the mountainous north of the island.
“The main problem is the distribution of supplies to thousands of refugee points,” Nugroho said.
“Most of the roads in North Lombok were damaged by the earthquake.”
Survivors of the quake have been shaken by hundreds of aftershocks, including a shallow 5.9-magnitude quake Thursday which caused people to flee evacuation shelters crying and screaming.


Le Havre hostage-taker consumed by plight of Palestinians, say police

Updated 07 August 2020

Le Havre hostage-taker consumed by plight of Palestinians, say police

  • The 34-year-old suspect had a history of mental health illness and spent time in a psychiatric hospital after taking several hostages in another bank in 2013
  • French police: He constantly asked for Palestinian children to be freed from Israeli jails, and Palestinians under 40 to pray in Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem

PARIS: The armed man who seized six hostages in a French bank on Thursday spoke to negotiators of hardships facing Palestinians but made no reference to extremist groups.
The 34-year-old suspect had a history of mental health illness and spent time in a psychiatric hospital after taking several hostages in another bank in 2013.
On that occasion, he demanded social housing for himself and a handicapped son.
During the six hour-long negotiations with police, in Le Havre on Thursday, the suspect never expressed support for Daesh or other extremist groups.
“He constantly asked for Palestinian children to be freed from Israeli jails, and Palestinians under 40 to pray in Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem,” a French police source said.
The man was known to law enforcement agencies. He was on a “Fiche S” security agency watch list that includes individuals the authorities consider susceptible to religious radicalization.
Investigators say there has been a trend of mental illness and religious radicalization in some attacks that have shaken France in recent years, making predicting behavior difficult.
“These are hazardous profiles, you never know what to expect from them,” the police source said.
The suspect lived in Paris at the time of the 2013 incident and later moved to the northern Seine-Maritime department.
He told the police trying to coax him out of the bank in Le Havre that he was carrying a bomb and threatened to use it if police came closer.
“But he never physically or verbally abused his hostages and negotiations never broke down,” the source said, adding that no explosives were found.
The man walked out shortly after 22:45 (2045 GMT) with the green flag of Palestinian militant group Hamas wrapped around his shoulders.
All six hostages were freed unharmed.