SEMBALUN, Indonesia – Strong earthquakes jolted the Indonesian island of Lombok on Sunday, causing power blackouts, landslides and damage to buildings, as the tourist hotspot tries to recover from a temblor earlier this month that killed hundreds of people.
A shallow quake Sunday evening was measured at magnitude 6.9 by the U.S. Geological Survey and followed quakes during the day recorded at magnitudes 6.3 and 5.4. All were centered in the northeast of the island. The evening quake was followed by strong aftershocks.
An Associated Press reporter in Sembalun subdistrict, on the island's northeast in the shadow of Mount Rinjani, said the latest in the flurry of quakes caused panic and power blackouts. Many people were already staying in tents following the deadly quake in early August and its hundreds of aftershocks.
There was no immediate official information about damage or casualties. Kompas TV said there were power blackouts in the north, center and west of the island. Hotel guests in the Senggigi resort town on the west of the island were evacuated to parking lots, it said.
Dwikorita Karnawatim, who heads Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency, said buildings that haven't collapsed so far have suffered repeated stress, and authorities have urged people to avoid both the mountain's slopes and weakened buildings.
The quake also was felt in the neighboring islands of Bali and Sumbawa. An AP reporter said tourists and villagers in Bali ran out of buildings in panic.
The daytime quakes caused landslides on the slopes of Rinjani, an active volcano, and panic in villages. Video shot by the Indonesian Red Cross showed huge clouds of dust billowing from the mountain's slopes.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said one person died from a heart attack during the biggest of the daytime quakes and nearly 100 houses near the epicenter were severely damaged.
The shaking toppled motorcycles and damaged buildings in Lombok's Sembalun subdistrict, including a community hall that collapsed. The hall had sustained damage in earlier quakes, said disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.
A magnitude 7.0 quake that struck Lombok on Aug. 5 killed 460 people, damaged tens of thousands of homes and displaced several hundred thousand people.
Mount Rinjani has been closed to visitors following a July earthquake that killed 16 people, triggered landslides and stranded hundreds of tourists on the mountain.
Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago that straddles the Pacific "Ring of Fire," is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.