Aid needed as more than 150,000 displaced in Lombok quake

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More than 150,000 have lost their homes in Lombok Island, Indonesia after a 6.9-magnitude earthquake rocked the archipelago, a report read.

“We still need long-term aid, even though we have already received help from various (regional) governments,” national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a report.

On Sunday, August 5, a 6.9-magnitude hit Indonesia, affecting tourist destinations Lombok and Bali. This is the second strong earthquakes that recently hit the archipelago as an earthquake struck, killing at least 17 people, a week before.

Indonesia is also among the countries that sit on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is frequently being hit by earthquakes.

Meanwhile, death toll in Lombok alone has also increased to 131 as of this writing.

The South China Morning Post reported that search and rescue operations remain but the hope of finding survivors is “fading.”

“The corpses are starting to smell and we believe some people buried are still alive – that’s why it’s a critical time,” Nugroho said in the report.

Indonesian authorities continue to appeal for material support, including medical personnel and basic supplies to help them carry out their search and rescue operations, BBC said.

“We have limited human resources. Some paramedics have to be at the shelters, some need to be mobile. The scale of this quake is massive for us here in West Nusa Tenggara, this is our first experience,” said Muhammad Zainul Majdi, the governor of West Nusa Tenggara province in a report.

Majdi further described the destruction as “almost 100 percent.”

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that “Foreign Affairs and the Australian Red Cross, had promised $150,000, China’s embassy had donated $US100,000, USAID had given $US60,000 and the International Red Cross 211,000 Swiss francs.”

“To get an international assistance coming from out of Indonesia especially in the form of goods and personnel, the procedure is first to get confirmation from central government that this is a national-scale disaster and not a provincial one,” said Indonesian Red Cross spokesperson Arifin Hadi, reacting to Nugroho’s pronouncement that Indonesia “does not need international assistance at the moment.”

Oxfam’s Meili Narti said, “right now it is almost three days, and still we are getting information that a lot of areas get no help yet, so I think we should all work harder to reach these people by the end of the week.”