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Worst days for quake survivors

China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-11 07:40

Islanders are now in need of food, fresh water and electricity

MATARAM, Indonesia - Survivors of Sunday's 7.0-magnitude earthquake in the worst-affected areas of Indonesia's tourist island of Lombok are finding it hard to cope while basic goods remain in short supply.

The powerful quake claimed hundreds of lives, wounded thousands more and displaced over 270,000 people.

 Worst days for quake survivors

A man guides a horse onto a boat to transport it to the mainland on Thursday, following Sunday's earthquake on Lombok, Indonesia. Zabur Karuru / Antara Foto via Reuters

In Nipah village, which is located in the tourism spot of Senggigi beach, local residents have to stay in makeshift tents made from the wreckage of their homes.

Some of them have to beg for food and water from street vendors who previously sold food to tourists visiting Lombok's popular beach before the earthquake.

Among them was Syarifuddin's big family of 50 people whose houses were destroyed in the quake.

"I get a headache when I recall that moment. These houses that we built piece by piece collapsed in front of my eyes," the 60-year-old man said.

Lack of electricity is another problem. The village is totally dark at night. The residents have to wait until morning when they are able to move from their makeshift tents.

Syarifuddin said that the only lucky thing is that none of his family members died.

"All of us got out from our houses after the first shock and stayed away from them following that," he said.

He added that one of his neighbors, an older woman, failed to flee.

Syarifuddin used to run a restaurant selling grilled fish to tourists on Senggigi beach.

Now, he has to walk far from his home to the nearest refugee shelter, which is around 1 kilometer away, to get water for his family.

"My son and I brought three or four bottles of drinking water for my whole family. We have to drink sip by sip.... I was wondering when the aid teams will come to our village so my grandchildren can have enough food and water," he said.

Worst days for quake survivors

Most of the residents' homes were flattened by the quake. Only a few remained with major cracks on walls, or were partly damaged.

Lalu Rahman, a 44-year-old villager whose house was seriously damaged in the quake, said that it had just been renovated before the earthquake struck.

"I am very sad now. Most of the money spent on the renovation was wasted," he said.

He had planned to use the renovated house as a grocery shop.

"I will have to entirely demolish it first if I want to rebuild it. But what if an earthquake strikes again?" he said.

Not keen on shelters

He is not keen on living in the refugee shelter as he also has to look after his cattle.

Lalu entrusted his neighbor to take care of his children at night, while he and his wife sleep in the cold in a tent.

"I was lucky to have a kind neighbor whose house was not affected by the earthquake. At least my children can stay in a warmer place, and not be bitten by mosquitoes," he said.

According to disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, officials have recorded a staggering 450 aftershocks since Sunday.

Officials have said that aftershocks may continue in the following weeks.

Seismic activity is commonplace across the Indonesian archipelago, which is home to more active volcanoes than anywhere else on Earth.

The nation straddles the so-called "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines that stretch across the Pacific Basin. A magnitude 9.1 earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra in 2004 spawned a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

Xinhua - AP

(China Daily 08/11/2018 page9)

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