Death toll rises as 6.4-magnitude earthquake hits tourist island near Bali

Houses were destroyed by an earthquake on the island of Lombok, Indonesia. Credit: AP

At least 14 people were killed and another 160 injured after a magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck Indonesia’s Lombok Island, a popular tourist destination next to Bali, officials said.

Sunday’s earthquake damaged more than a thousand houses and was felt in a wider area, including in Bali, where no damage or casualties were reported.

The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at a depth of 4.4 miles.

East Lombok district was the hardest hit with eight deaths, including a Malaysian national, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency.

The number of casualties could increase as data was still being collected from other locations on the island, he said.

The tremor also triggered a large landslide from Mount Rinjani. Authorities were still monitoring its impact.

In East Lombok and the provincial capital of Mataram, the earthquake lasted about 10 seconds, sending residents fleeing from their homes onto streets and fields, Mr Nugroho said. He said most of the fatalities and injuries were caused by falling slabs of concrete.

Photos released by the agency showed damaged houses and the entrance to the popular Mount Rinjani National Park, which was immediately closed for fear of landslides.

A man inspects the damage caused by the earthquake Credit: Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency via AP

Like Bali, Lombok is known for pristine beaches and mountains. Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

In December 2004, a massive 9.1-magnitude earthquake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.