Indonesia rescues hundreds of western hikers trapped in Mount Rinjani volcanic eruption

Powerful quake strikes Indonesian tourist island of Lombok   
        Open galle

Powerful quake strikes Indonesian tourist island of Lombok Open galle

More than 500 hikers who were stranded on a mountain on the Indonesian island of Lombok after an natural disaster have been safely evacuated.

Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency recorded more than 270 aftershocks, damaging more than 1,400 homes on the island.

Speaking to reporters as the multi-agency rescue efforts wound down yesterday, provincial disaster mitigation agency chief Muhammad Rum warned of aftershocks from Sunday's quake.

They were among more than 500 tourists who ended up trapped on the mountain after the quake caused a series of landslides, leaving hikers with no easy way down to safety.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said more than 680 people are stranded on Rinjani based on figures from its entry gates where visitors are registered.

A strong and shallow quake early Sunday killed more than a dozen people on Indonesia's Lombok island, a popular tourist destination next to Bali, officials said.

The two women ended up stuck on the mountain overnight, unable to get down the mountain until yesterday, as numerous trails and bridges had been destroyed.

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Anci, a villager from near the quake epicenter, said he and his family spent the night in a makeshift tent, anxious that aftershocks could cause more buildings to collapse.

More than 220 people suffered serious injuries in the quake, Mr. Sutopo said.

"I felt the earth move. and thought 'Huh?"

He said the Malaysian government was ready to provide further aid to their Indonesian counterparts as necessary.

With Mount Rinjani a favoured tourist spot, more than 500 hikers got stuck on various hiking routes that criss-cross the mountain due to landslides caused by the quake. The toll from the quake now stands at 17.

Tonnes of rock and mud were dislodged on Mount Rinjani in the 6.4-magnitude quake, which struck early Sunday and was followed by scores of aftershocks, blocking the hiking routes that crisscross the mountain. The last of the trapped trekkers have now been evacuated, officials said.

Mr Songphol said Jakarta has assisted the stranded tourists, with Indonesian President Joko Widodo administering the mission himself.

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