UN chief ‘saddened’ over earthquake in Indonesia

UN chief ‘saddened’ over earthquake in Indonesia

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (REUTERS File Photo)

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres today expressed sadness at the "devastating" loss of life, injuries and damage caused in the magnitude 7 earthquake that hit Indonesia's East Lombok over the weekend.

According to Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Authority, at least 98 people have lost their lives, with more than 200 injured and thousands displaced.

In addition, thousands of houses have been damaged, and according to news reports around 10,000 have been evacuated from the island.

This latest quake came a week after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake jolted the same area, which left more than a dozen people dead, over 150 people injured and thousands displaced.

“The Secretary-General extends his condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Indonesia, and wishes the injured a quick recovery,” said a statement issued yesterday by his Spokesman, who added that “the United Nations stands ready to support ongoing rescue and relief efforts, if required”.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in a statement said, “The earthquake caused widespread panic. Many people ran from their homes and have stayed by the roadsides overnight. Hundreds of people were treated for injuries, some of them in the open air to avoid the risk of further injury”.

Search and rescue activities are ongoing.

“As the earthquake happened in the evening and cut power and communications in the area, a full picture of people’s needs is still emerging,” added the IFRC. “Some 132 aftershocks have been recorded in the area.”

The death toll is expected to rise, with one official telling reporters that 80 per cent of north Lombok has suffered damage. 

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