The earthquake jolted the West Nusa Tenggara Province in central Indonesia at 05:47 on Sunday, local time, with the epicenter at a depth of 10 km and 28 km northwest of Lombok Timur, according to officials.
Around 1,000 houses and other buildings were damaged in the province, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesperson for Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency, adding that the injured have been rushed to nearby hospitals and clinics.
Some villagers living near the epicenter had to sleep in roadside tents as their houses were destroyed.
“We sleep here at roadside because our house collapsed in the quake. So my family and I have to sleep here. There are some other villagers sleeping at other locations around here. We are afraid of aftershocks. There have been many aftershocks, although they are not strong so far. But we heard that quakes as strong as the one early in the morning may occur and that makes my family and I very nervous and scared. So we put up this tent in emergency to prevent something bad from happening,” said Anci, one of the villagers.
Officials blamed the destroyed houses on the lack of firm structure.
“There are many houses collapsing in the quake, as the 6.4-magnitude earthquake is relatively strong. In addition, the epicenter is very close to the northern area of the island. The third reason is that the houses’ structures are not firm enough, lacking reinforced steel bars and a solid foundation,” said Suardi, an official in the northern area of the Lombok Island.
The jolt did not disrupt the operation of airports in Lombok and the nearby Bali Island, authorities said.
Indonesia is prone to quakes as it lies on a vulnerable area known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.