A powerful earthquake has rocked the Indonesian tourist islands of Lombok and neighbouring Bali, triggering a tsunami warning just a week after another quake in the same region killed 16 people.
The magnitude seven earthquake hit about 6.46pm Jakarta time (11.46pmNZT) on Sunday 27 kilometres north-east of northern Lombok in Indonesia at a 15-kilometre depth.
Indonesia’s BMKG (the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency) issued a tsunami warning soon afterwards, but that warning was lifted about an hour and 45 minutes after the quake hit, at 8.30pm local time.
There were also reports of black outs and of mobile phone networks going down in northern Lombok, near the eipcentre of the quake, which has slowed down reports on the number of injuries and on damage estimates.
According to BMKG, there were 16 aftershocks recorded up to 7.51pm local time.
There were no immediate reports of casualties, but authorities said the quake might have caused some damage.
Australia’s Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton, who is in Lombok for a counter-terrorism meeting, has told Fairfax Media the quake “was powerful enough to put us on the floor”.
Mr Dutton and his delegation, along with his New Zealand counterpart, have since been evacuated from their hotel and are standing by to be evacuated to Bali, where the quake’s effects are thought to be less severe.
“We were up on the 12th floor, the lights went out and we were able to evacuate,” Mr Dutton said.
“I think we were pretty lucky in the end.
“Emergency services responded really well. They were able to evacuate us to safe ground and we are very grateful. There have been no reports of any local injures that we are aware of but we are anxiously awaiting further advice on that.”
People took to social media to sound warnings, ask for prayers and share pictures of the damage to buildings.
At the Matahari shopping centre in Denpasar, staff had a major clean up job ahead of them after roof tiles were shaken down onto the street below after the earthquake hit.
One member of staff at the Matahari shopping centre received a minor injury while trying to rush out of the building.
The US Geological Survey said the quake at a depth of 10.5 kilometres. Its epicentre was about two kilometres east-southeast of Loloan.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told KompasTV that the quake strongly jolted Mataram, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara province, and may have caused damage there.
He said the quake was also felt in parts of neighbouring Bali.
A magnitude 6.4 quake hit Lombok on July 29, killing 16 people.
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 magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.
– Sydney Morning Herald