Indonesia's Lombok natural disaster: Hundreds trapped on mountain

Indonesia's Lombok natural disaster: Hundreds trapped on mountain

According to CNN, about 700 hikers are now trapped on top of and along Mount Rinjani, an Indonesian volcano located on the island of Lombok, in the wake of a 6.4 magnitude quake that struck the island on Sunday.

Mount Rinjani National Park said in a Twitter message on Monday that a key route, Senaru, had been reopened for people to come down.

Rinjani, the second-tallest volcano in the country, is a popular destination for hikers, both from Indonesia and overseas.

"At the moment both domestic and global tourists are on their way down", I Gusti Lanang Wiswananda, a spokesman for West Nusa Tenggara search and rescue, said.

Challenging conditions, including more than 120 powerful aftershocks, meant numerous hikers were unlikely to reach the bottom...

Three people were killed and 12 others injured as an natural disaster measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale jolted West Nusa Tenggara province of central Indonesia earlier Sunday, officials said. At least 140 members of the Indonesian Special Forces were drafted in to help the operation while helicopters were scrambled to drop food for those stranded on the 3,726m volcano.

He said an Indonesian search-and-rescue team was scouring the area on foot but was still several hours away.

"People are gathering on the streets and empty fields to avoid collapsing buildings", he said.

Hiking at Mount Rinjani had been suspended due to landslides but the Bali airport was operating normally, the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta tweeted.

"The whole mountain, rocks, fell down - I was a bit afraid", he said.

"I got out of my bed and then I saw a landslide (with) rocks falling down".

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Officials said the death toll from Sunday's quake, which was centred on the northern part of Lombok, but was also felt on the resort island of Bali to the west, stood at 16.

More than 1000 houses were damaged, with the tremors from the quake felt in the neighbouring island of Bali.

In the hard hit village of Medas, north of Mataram, the majority of houses were destroyed and the area was deserted yesterday save for a few people searching for possessions in the rubble, a reporter at the scene said.

"I am deeply saddened by news of the quake in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, which has resulted in the tragic loss of lives, injuries, and destruction", said Mr Lee.

Among the dead are one Malaysian, with six injured, the Malaysian foreign ministry said.

At least 162 people were hurt, according to Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency.

Rinjawani Pebolaisia, an evacuee at a shelter in East Lombok, said they were lacking basic supplies.

Adrianus Umbu Zogara, who heads the student group, said members had collected rice and instant noodles to distribute to victims. "We will use the money to buy necessities victims most need, such as blankets". "Many people are sleeping outside".

To prevent more fatalities, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who visited the displaced victims and ensured they would receive adequate assistance, ordered a quick rescue of the stranded climbers.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because of its location on the "Ring of Fire", an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Ocean.

An quake measuring 6.4 magnitude on the Richter Scale struck off eastern Indonesia on Sunday, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

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