JAKARTA (Reuters) – A strong 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit popular tourist destination Lombok in Indonesia on Sunday. Three people were killed and many buildings were damaged, the country's civil protection department said.
Fallen garbage is seen in this social media image after an earthquake in Lombok, Indonesia on July 29, 201
The quake struck Lombok Island in the early morning, when many people were still asleep. Twelve people were injured and many fled into open fields away from collapsed buildings.
"We jumped out of our beds to prevent anything from falling on our heads," said Jean-Paul Volckaert, who was awakened by a quake at the Puncak Hotel near Senggigi on Lombok.
"I walked around, but so far there is no harm, we were very surprised when the water in the pools swayed like a wild sea, there were waves in the pools, but only for 20 to 30 seconds," he said call Reuters.
"The people in the villages may be damaged, it is still early in the morning here."
The quake was 50 km northeast of the city of Mataram in the northern part of Lombok, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS) ,
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the Civil Protection Agency, published images of houses with collapsed roofs and walls on Twitter.
"People are gathering on the streets and empty fields to avoid collapsing the buildings," he said.
"The focus is now on evacuation and rescue, with some of the injured still being treated in clinics."
After the initial tremor of 6.4, about 43 quakes were registered, with the largest aftershock peaking at 5 7 was recorded, said the civil protection authority.
The big quake was felt on the neighboring island of Bali, Indonesia's top tourist destination.
The quake may have hit Mount Rinjani National Park, a popular trekking destination.
"Rinjani mountaineering is temporarily closed because there is evidence of landslide around the mountain," Nugroho said in a statement.
Local News Metro TV reported that people were still asleep at the first quake and they fled in panic out of their homes. Most people were still waiting in front of their homes, afraid of aftershocks, Metro TV said.
The earthquake struck at 6:47 am on Sunday (at 2247 GMT on Saturday) and was only 4.35 miles deep (7 km), a shallow depth that would have increased its impact. The second hit less than an hour later
A magnitude 6.4 earthquake is considered strong and can cause severe damage.
The European Earthquake Research Center (EMSC), the European quake authority, estimated the extent at 6.5.
The earthquake was on land, causing no waves or tsunami.
Lombok is the nearest island east of Bali.
Earthquakes are widespread in Indonesia, located on the seismically active "ring of fire" that surrounds the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
Reporting by Sandra Maler in Washington and Fransiska Nangoy in Jakarta; Additional reporting by Alison Bevege in SYDNEY; By Richard Chang, Sandra Painter and Michael Perry