More than 130 people are confirmed dead in quake-hit Indonesia, and officials said the number could more than double. Thousands have been forced out of their homes, and evacuation camps are in desperate need of clean water and medical supplies.
CGTN’s Silkina Ahluwalia filed this report from Lombok island.
Agung and his family have been displaced as a result of Lombok’s powerful earthquake. He fled his village as it was reduced to rubble. The initial tsunami warning forced him to flee to the mountains, separating him from his family.
It took him 24-hours to be reunited with his wife and children at a shelter. It hasn’t been easy adjusting to life there, and continuous aftershocks have stirred fear and worry among the residents at his village.
“I decided to stay at this shelter because the houses in my village are either destroyed or cracked and I was afraid to go back. The only thing lacking here is clean water and proper bathrooms, which are both desperately needed,” he said.
It’s one of the largest temporary shelters for the evacuees, housing thousands of residents from five districts that were affected by the earthquake.
Many residents there are living in uncertainty. They have left their homes, their jobs and their entire lives after Lombok was hit with two earthquakes in the past week. They’re not allowed to return to their homes yet, as the island is still under a state of emergency.
For now, volunteer doctors at a makeshift clinic bring hope and provide care in the wake of sorrow.
“The day the earthquake happened, we immediately focused on the victims. We are very limited here,” Dr. Fitri Sukmawati said. “There are too many victims and not enough doctors, so we have to choose who to treat first. The first day was very difficult. Now, we are getting better but we still need more food and medicine.”
Indonesia is no stranger to strong earthquakes. Back in 2016, a 6.5-magnitude quake shook the city of Banda Aceh. It destroyed thousands of homes and killed more than 200 people. The country is located in what authorities call a red zone, a particularly sensitive area prone to natural disasters like earthquakes, landslides and flooding.