Lombok quake toll tipped to top 400 as rescue work goes on

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A mosque damaged by the earthquake at Bayan on Lombok on August 11, 2018. Strong quakes hit the Indonesian island several times, damaging buildings and the death toll is likely to rise. Photo: AFP/ Anton Raharjo /NurPhoto)

The death toll on the Indonesian island of Lombok – hit by a series of major earthquakes over the past two-plus weeks – is expected to rise and top 400 in coming days.

The official toll is 387 but rescue workers are still combing through a vast number of collapsed buildings.

More than a quarter of a million people have been left homeless and the local tourism industry has been hit hard by the disaster, which is said to have been lifted 25 centimeters by the second deadly quake that struck on August 5.

Lombok is a Muslim-majority island which has been dubbed “The Island of a Thousand Mosques”, but is less well known than Bali, it’s neighboring isle, which has a mainly Hindu population. Bali suffered only two deaths from the quakes that have ravaged Lombok.

Lombok residents now have to repair and rebuild, while hoping that spooked tourists will return.

Senggigi would normally be bustling with visitors this time of year. But boats lie idle along its main beach, restaurants and hotels have been shuttered on its main drag and the usual stream of touts offering services has dried up, AFP reported.

Authorities estimate the damage unleashed by the recent quakes on buildings and infrastructure on Lombok will exceed two trillion rupiah ($138 million).

But while the post-quake images of destruction and departing tourists were dramatic, analysts predict tourism in the region will recover after short-term pain.

 

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