Quakes cut power, topple buildings on Indonesian island still devastated by earlier temblor

Soldiers continue cleaning 10 days after a deadly Aug. 5, 2018, quake on the Indonesian island of Lombok, in an image released by the nation's military. On Sunday, yet another quake — magnitude 6.9 — hit the island. (Indonesian military via AFP/Getty Images)

A strong earthquake has cut power across the Indonesian island of Lombok and destroyed buildings as the tourist hotspot tries to recover from a temblor earlier this month that killed hundreds of people.

The shallow, magnitude 6.9 jolt that hit just after 10 p.m. Sunday was one of multiple powerful earthquakes in the northeast of the island that also caused landslides. The nighttime quake was followed by strong aftershocks.

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There was no immediate official information about casualties.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said power was cut across the island, hampering efforts to assess the situation. Some houses and other buildings in Sembalun subdistrict on the island’s northeast had collapsed, it said.

“People panicked and scattered,” said disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. “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 Mt. Rinjani.”

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

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

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The daytime quakes that included a magnitude 6.3 jolt caused landslides on the slopes of Rinjani, an active volcano, and panic in villages. Video shot by the Indonesian Red Cross Society showed huge clouds of dust billowing from the mountain's slopes.

The disaster agency said one person died of a heart attack during the biggest of the daytime quakes and nearly 100 houses near the epicenter were severely damaged.

A magnitude 7 quake that struck Lombok on Aug. 5 killed 460 people, damaged tens of thousands of homes and displaced several hundred thousand people.

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

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago that straddles the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

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