Lombok/Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 8 August 2018 – The head of a Red Cross assessment team on the Indonesian island of Lombok has described Sunday’s magnitude 7 earthquake as “exceptionally destructive”, warning that it may still take days for the full impact to emerge.

The earthquake came just days after a smaller magnitude 6.4 tremblor shook the island on 29 July. According to authorities, the death toll from the two disasters is likely to exceed 120, with hundreds of people injured and an estimated 600,000 people affected in total.

Christopher Rassi, the interim Head of the Country Cluster Support Team for Indonesia and Timor-Leste for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said:

We are still waiting for assessments from some of the more remote areas in the north of the island, but it is already clear that Sunday’s earthquake was exceptionally destructive. I visited villages yesterday that were completely collapsed. Red Cross teams on the ground, who have been giving immediate emergency help since moments after the earthquake, tell us that in some villages in East and North Lombok, 75 per cent of houses are damaged.

Sunday’s earthquake forced thousands of families to flee their homes. Since then, some are staying in evacuation centres; many others are in makeshift camps in open areas.

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.

We understand that most of the injuries or deaths are the result of buildings collapsing or falling debris, so it is understandable that people are worried about their homes being safe,” said Ritola Tasmaya, Secretary General of the Indonesian Red Cross.

The Indonesian Red Cross, supported by international partners, will accompany families and communities to help them recover from the impact of these earthquakes and increase their resilience to future shocks.”

Other priorities under the planned 18-month operation include livelihoods; health; water, sanitation and hygiene; protection, gender and inclusion; and disaster risk reduction.

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In Indonesia: Rosemarie North, +62 859 25353361 or +6012 230 8451, Rosemarie.North@ifrc.org

In Geneva: Matthew Cochrane, +41 792 518 039, matthew.cochrane@ifrc.org

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