On Sunday 29 July, the island of Lombok in Indonesia was violently struck by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake, leaving at least 17 people dead and hundreds more injured.
The disaster was followed by at least 362 recorded aftershocks with a maximum recorded magnitude of 6.2. Over 64,000 homes have been either damaged or completely flattened, leaving families with nothing.
But the disaster did not stop there. Less than a week after the initial quake, an even more devastating 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the island. A tsunami alert was issued but lifted shortly after. The aftershocks have been felt in neighbouring islands Bali, Jember and Sidoarjo.
A total of 18 significant earthquakes continued to rock the island, spreading terror and panic to local families and tourists.
On Sunday 19 August, two more earthquakes measuring 6.9 and 6.3 magnitudes hit the already devastated island. There have been hundreds of aftershocks after the 6.9 magnitude earthquake on the 5th of August.
According to the latest reports, these devastating quakes have killed 460 people and injured over 1000, and have left over 270,000 people without a safe place to call home. These numbers are expected to rise as more tremors are still possible.
Assessing the Situation
We have sent a team of highly-trained volunteers to assess the situation on the ground in Indonesia.
The ShelterBox Response Team, made up of volunteer members Liz Odell from the UK and Brian Glenn from the US, have been working with local Rotary contacts and liaising with local authorities to understand whether and how we can help families severely affected by the disaster.
Our team is currently waiting for aid to arrive via trucks and ferries. They are also working to source tarpaulins locally.
We had aid in the region so we have been able to move quickly, and we are making arrangements with Rotary Lombok and the local government to make sure we can get it to families as soon as possible.
Where is Lombok?
The island of Lombok is located in West Nusa Tenggara province, in Indonesia. It’s situated to the east of Bali on the other side of the Lombok Strait. The capital, and largest city on the island, is Mataram.
Lombok is a popular tourist destination, with thousands of people from around the world flocking to the island every year. Lombok’s main tourist attractions are its beaches and hiking trails.
The earthquakes affected the three districts of North Lombok, East Lombok and West Lombok. At least 20,000 men, women and children have been left homeless and are now in urgently need of shelter.
WHAT IS AN EARTHQUAKE?
An earthquake happens when pieces of the earth’s surface rub together, causing the ground to shake.
WHY DO EARTHQUAKES HAPPEN?
Although the ground we walk on may seem solid, it is actually made of huge pieces of flat rock which together, create a kind of patchwork.
These flat pieces of rock are called plates and are constantly moving, although this usually happens so slowly we don’t even notice.
Sometimes these plates get stuck and pressure builds up until one of the plates is forced to give way – this can cause the ground across a wide area to vibrate violently.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS?
The size of an earthquake is usually measured by a system called the ‘Richter Scale’. Earthquakes that measure below 4 on this scale are unlikely to cause any damage and those below 2 will usually not even be felt.
However, earthquakes above 5 on the Richter Scale will cause damage and those above 7 are considered major earthquakes. These larger earthquakes can result in buildings being destroyed or so badly damaged they are too dangerous to live in.
WHAT ARE AFTERSHOCKS?
Aftershocks are earthquakes that follow the largest shock of an earthquake sequence.
They are smaller than the initial, main earthquakes and within 1-2 rupture lengths distance from the mainshock.
Aftershocks can continue over a period of weeks, months, or even years. In general, the larger the mainshock, the larger and more numerous the aftershocks, and the longer they will continue.