One of the most famous and false superstitions about natural phenomenon in nature concerns lightning supposedly never striking the same place twice. So many fatalities have been chalked up throughout the years due to this mistaken notion. The same principle applies to earthquakes, in the form of aftershocks at the same spot following a main tremor, and even foreshocks beforehand. This was the case with the island of Lombok, Indonesia that was hit by an earthquake thrice over lately: once in July 28, the main quake in August 5 and a mighty August 9 aftershock. Counting all these, the death toll has risen quite high.
As TIME tells us, over 430 people in Indonesia have now been confirmed as having been died during the rash of earthquakes that happened in Lombok, part of the Indonesian province of West Nusa Tenggara. In addition, the national government of Indonesia has now estimated the losses to the economy from all the destroyed infrastructure and affected businesses to some hundreds of millions of dollars. The Indonesian national disaster agency noted that a large number of the fatalities were killed when buildings collapsed from the powerful tremors with them inside. Property damage is estimated locally to be worth no less than 5 trillion rupiah ($342M).
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the Indonesian disaster agency was plain in his assessment of the aftermath of the earthquake saying, “The damage and losses are very large.” In addition to those who died, the government is now putting their heads together on what to do with the estimated 350,000 evacuees whose homes were wrecked or rendered unsafe by the near-weekly quakes, the main one on August 5 being measured at 7.0 in magnitude. “When all data has been collected later, the amount will be greater,” Nugroho adds. “It will take time to restore community life and economic development.”
The archipelagic country of Indonesia lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire, filled with volcanoes and earthquake-triggering fault lines surrounding the great Pacific Basin. Lombok is an island that is also dotted with resorts, though its popularity pales in comparison to the iconic island of Bali, just to its west.
About 20 people on Lombok were killed in the July 28 foreshock that registered at 6.4 in magnitude, only less powerful by half in magnitude to the main tremor that followed days later. Of the over 500 aftershocks that came in the primary quake’s wake, the August 9 tremor at magnitude 6.0 was notably strong. Roads were damaged in the disaster, forcing helicopters to be deployed to Lombok’s mountainous communities to provide needed emergency aid.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia