Major quake rocks Indonesia

After a devastating earthquake in Indonesia on Sunday, August 5th, at least 259 are dead, with that number still rising. An additional 1,447 people are estimated to be injured from the 6.9 magnitude quake that hit the island of Lombok and surrounding smaller islands, according to the National Disaster Management Agency. The government has estimated that 80 percent of the islands’ buildings have been destroyed.

Tens of thousands were left homeless, creating the need for temporary shelters as well as water and food. The Indonesian military has dispatched five planes containing “food, medicine, blankets, field tents and water tankers,” according to The Guardian.

The exact number of fatalities is uncertain, as search and rescue efforts continue. The highest number reported so far has come from the national army, which reported 381 people having died, while the national disaster agency reported 259. As of Friday, August 10th, the New York Times reported 321 people dead and 270,000 displaced.

There have been 355 reported aftershocks since the initial quake, including a 6.2 magnitude tremor on Thursday, August 9th that caused further building damage and evacuations.

As the islands begin to recover there is no question that the quake will have a long lasting effect on the Indonesian economy — not only in the need for reconstruction of homes, but also in the loss of income from tourism. The heavy hit island of Lombok has been regarded as an up-and-coming alternative to nearby Bali, with many tourists enjoying those sandy beaches. But the earthquake has destroyed many hotels, with many tourists reportedly canceling their reservations at the remaining accommodations out of fear of future earthquakes.

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