Over the last 24 hours over ten magnitude 5 aftershocks have hit the Indonesian Island of Lombok, which has been experiencing a heightened level of seismic activity since a magnitude 7 earthquake struck on August 5th.
To date, 550 people have been killed by the earthquakes and a significant area of the island has suffered severe damage. It has been reported that the recent aftershocks caused a further 14 death.
It is hoped that the death toll from the recent earthquake remains low as almost 450,000 people have already left the affected area and are now living in temporary shelter. The Government of Indonesia estimate that a further 2,000 homes have been damaged, this adds to the 75,000 homes that have already experienced severe damage.
East Lombok has been most significantly affected by the earthquake with almost 80% of buildings in the region having collapsed. There are also warning that the structures that still stand may have been severely compromised from the earthquake and multiple aftershocks, making them too dangerous to enter.
Locals have been advised not to enter buildings and to stay away from mountain slopes, due to the risk of landslides.
The number of strong aftershocks is likely to worsen the trauma for many of those affected
Ancilla Bere, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Response Lead, commented:
“People are shocked, and with each new quake or tremor, they are even more traumatized. You could hear women and children screaming and running for their lives in fear”
“With such a huge population displaced, the life in the make-shift camps is already very tough. There is little security, privacy, and only meagre protection against the elements”
“With multiple shocks, most of the houses and facilities are completely gone, and even many of standing buildings are likely to be dangerously damaged. People will have to remain in camps until they can safely return. They’d have to stay in displacement camps for months before that’s possible”
The aftershocks are hampering relief efforts and humanitarian agencies are preparing to escalate their responses the reach more of those affected.
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Image credit: Save the Children