Indonesia: Powerful earthquake hits Lombok

CARE Indonesia closely monitoring the situation / Emergency team ready to respond

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Lombok yesterday at 18.45 local time, killing at least 91 people and injuring hundreds. Thousands of people have been injured and thousands have been displaced. Rescuers are still trying to reach some hard-hit areas to conduct loss and damage assessments.

“CARE is very concerned that the death toll will continue to rise. People now urgently need medical support, clean water, food, and a safe space to sleep,” says Helen Vanwel, CARE’s Country Director in Indonesia. “Our CARE team in Indonesia is monitoring the situation closely. Our emergency teams are ready to respond if international assistance is needed.”

This is the second earthquake hitting in Lombok in a week. 16 people were killed on 29 July. “We hear that many of the houses damaged a week ago have now collapsed. People are very scared to go back into their houses. There have been almost 50 aftershocks, and people continue to fear for their lives,” says Vanwel.

Umar, who has previously been working for CARE for 18 years, reports from Mataram, the capital of Lombok: “This earthquake was much stronger than the last one. It was out of the ordinary. We were very afraid and all ran outside, where we also slept. Many people are still sleeping in the open. I have allowed my family back into our home on the condition that the door remains unlocked in case we have to escape quickly.”

CARE has worked in Indonesia since 1967, initially focused on food distribution, small infrastructure projects, health, the environment, and water and sanitation. In 2004, CARE Indonesia was one of the primary emergency responders after the South Asian tsunami.

Emergency response and disaster risk reduction with a focus on women and girls is always CARE Indonesia’s first priority. Its other core activities all focus on women and youth and include: Integrated Risk Management comprising resilience, food security and climate change; Economic Empowerment and leadership; and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene.