JAKARTA, Indonesia – A powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Lombok, a popular tourist destination east of Bali on Sunday, killing at least three people and damaging many buildings, Indonesian officials said.
"We jumped out of bed to avoid anything falling over our heads," said Jean-Paul Volckaert, awakened by the quake at the Puncak Hotel near Senggigi on Lombok Island.
"The water in the pools swayed like wild sea," he said on the phone, though he said he saw no harm there.
Indonesia's Civil Protection Department said many buildings had been damaged but no detailed information on victims was available.
Sutopo Purwo Nug roho, spokesman for the agency, posted on Twitter pictures of houses with collapsed roofs and walls
Mount Rinjani National Park, a popular trekking destination, was temporarily closed due to the possibility of landslides, he said a statement.
A local news station, Metro TV, reported that people were still asleep when the first quake hit early Sunday and they fled in panic from their homes. Most were still waiting in front of their homes, afraid of aftershocks.
The earthquake hit at 6:47 am on Sunday, and its shallow depth would have increased its impact. The aftershock of magnitude 5.4 struck less than an hour later.
While earthquakes in Indonesia, which is on the seismically active ring of fire surrounding the shores of the Pacific, are common, a quake with a magnitude of 6.4 is considered strong can cause severe damage
The earthquake on Sunday was on land and did not cause high waves or tsunami.