On 5 August 2018, the island of Lombok, Indonesia, was struck by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, the second one to hit the island just a week after a magnitude 6.4 quake killed 17 people and injured dozens more. The second quake killed over 100 people and damaged many buildings on Lombok island, with falling debris injuring hundreds of others. North Lombok, where 200,000 people live, was the hardest hit.
The disaster cut power and communications lines, leaving terrified survivors in darkness and unable to call for help or reassure loved ones. An estimated 132 aftershocks were recorded within 18 hours of the earthquake. Schools have been closed until the buildings are declared safe.
Immediately after the second earthquake, the Indonesian Red Cross or Palang Merah Indonesia, activated its emergency response teams and deployed 110 staff and volunteers to the affected areas. The teams worked around the clock to conduct search and rescue, help people out of unsafe buildings, and to transport injured people to hospitals and provide first aid. After dark, the staff and volunteers distributed blankets to families sleeping outside.
An additional 140 staff and volunteers are traveling from neighbouring branches to join the response operation. While some assessments are still being made to measure the impact of the earthquake in more remote areas north of the island, it was clear that Sunday’s earthquake was exceptionally destructive.
The Indonesian Red Cross and IFRC have launched an international emergency appeal for 8.9 million Swiss francs. Through this appeal, Red Cross volunteers and staff will support approximately 80,000 people in in North Lombok, East Lombok and West Lombok. In addition to providing emergency shelter supplies (including tarpaulins and shelter toolkits), the Red Cross will distribute materials for repairing and rebuilding damaged houses and advise on building or rebuilding more safely.