Rescuers and policemen walk on top of a collapsed mosque as they try to find survivors after an earthquake hit on Sunday in Pemenang, Lombok Island, Indonesia, on August 7, 2018. Picture: REUTERS/BEAWIHARTA
Rescuers and policemen walk on top of a collapsed mosque as they try to find survivors after an earthquake hit on Sunday in Pemenang, Lombok Island, Indonesia, on August 7, 2018. Picture: REUTERS/BEAWIHARTA

Mataram, Indonesia — The death toll from a powerful earthquake on the Indonesian island of Lombok rose to 105 on Tuesday as rescuers clawed through the rubble of homes, schools and mosques for survivors and evacuees faced another night in the open.

The shallow 6.9-magnitude quake destroyed thousands of buildings and triggered panic among tourists and locals on Lombok on Sunday, just a week after a tremor had surged through the holiday island and killed 17.

More than 20,000 people are believed to have been made homeless by the latest quake, with 105 killed and 236 severely injured, officials said Tuesday.

There were fears the death toll would rise as workers with heavy machinery shifted rubble at a collapsed mosque. Across much of the island, once-bustling villages have been turned into virtual ghost towns, with residents sleeping out in the open — scared to stay near their shattered homes amid hundreds of aftershocks.

"Last night I was on the hill because I was afraid, I heard there would be a tsunami," Din Iqra, from the northern village of Malaka, said. "Only this morning were we brave enough to come down."

Many people made homeless by the quake were sleeping in makeshift shelters in rice fields or on the roadside, according to Silverius Tasman, from Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik, a partner of Save the Children in Indonesia.

"They do not have a water supply and not enough food," Tasman said, after visiting Karang Bajo village in the island’s north. "Children are the most vulnerable."

The tremor struck as evening prayers were being said across the Muslim-majority island. Crews using heavy equipment to search a collapsed mosque in northern Lombok found three bodies but also managed to pull one man alive from the twisted wreckage.

Among other major buildings to collapse were a health clinic, government offices and other public facilities, he said.

About 4,600 tourists have been evacuated from the Gili Islands, three tiny, coral-fringed tropical islands off the northwest coast of Lombok, which are popular with backpackers and divers.

Lombok airport’s GM said airlines had laid on extra flights and his staff had been providing blankets and snacks.

Immigration authorities said seven foreigners were injured in the quake and are being treated in hospital.

A lack of heavy equipment and shattered roads have hampered efforts to reach survivors in the mountainous north and east of Lombok, which were hardest hit.

AFP