Indonesian earthquakes cause deaths, panic
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Indonesian earthquakes cause deaths, panic

Sembalun: Strong earthquakes have killed at least 13 people on the Indonesian islands of Lombok and Sumbawa as the region recovers from a temblor this month that killed hundreds of people.

A shallow magnitude 6.9 quake that hit about 10pm on Sunday was one of several powerful earthquakes in the north-east of Lombok that also caused landslides. The night-time event was followed by strong aftershocks.

An girl injured from the earlier earthquake at Mataram, Lombok.

An girl injured from the earlier earthquake at Mataram, Lombok.Credit:AP

At last 11 people on Lombok and neighbouring Sumbawa island were killed by collapsing buildings or heart attacks, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Monday.

“Many people were staying outside their houses or were at refugee shelters when the earthquake struck so it didn’t cause many lives,” Nugroho said.

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Two people had died earlier on Sunday on Lombok during a magnitude 6.3 quake.

More than 1800 houses were damaged, at least half of them severely, Nugroho said.

The swarm of quakes caused panic in Sembalun subdistrict on Lombok in the shadow of Mount Rinjani, but many people were already staying in tents following the deadly jolt in early August and its hundreds of aftershocks.

On Sumbawa, a neighbourhood was engulfed by a fire that started in a collapsed house.

"People panicked and scattered," Nugroho said.

"Some people are hysterical because they feel earthquake aftershocks that are harder than before. They heard a roar that probably came from landslides in the hills and Mount Rinjani."

Dwikorita Karnawatim, who heads Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency, said buildings that hadn't collapsed so far had suffered repeated stress, and authorities had urged people to avoid both the mountain's slopes and weakened buildings.

Sunday night's tremor occurred on a different fault and was not an aftershock of the magnitude 7.0 quake on August 5 that killed 460 people, damaged tens of thousands of homes and displaced several hundred thousand people.

The quake lasting five to 10 seconds also was felt in the neighbouring island of Bali and as far away as East Java and Makassar in Sulawesi.

Quakes earlier on Sunday caused landslides on Rinjani, an active volcano. Video shot by the Indonesian Red Cross showed huge clouds of dust billowing from the mountain's slopes.

Rinjani has been closed to visitors following a July earthquake that killed 16 people, triggered landslides and stranded hundreds of tourists on the mountain.

The earthquake on Sunday night also brought damages to roads and caused landslide. Some 101 aftershocks recorded following the quake on Sunday night, nine of which were felt up to Monday morning at 11am. Government keeps sending logistics to these two affected areas.

To donate: Australian Red Cross Indonesian Earthquakes Appeal www redcross.org.au

CARE Australia’s Global Emergency Fund www.care.org.au/lombok

AP with Amilia Rosa