More than 500 mountaineers stranded after Indonesian quake

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Jakarta, July 30 (IANS) Rescue teams on Monday were trying to reach more than 500 mountaineers who have been stranded on Mount Rinjani on Lombok island in Indonesia, a day after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake killed at least 14 people and injured 162.

Landslides caused by the earthquake have blocked the climbers’ return. The group of mountaineers included five Spaniards, although none of them were in immediate danger, Efe news reported.

At least two helicopters have been deployed for rescue work and have already evacuated 246 people, National Agency for Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on social media.

Mount Rinjani, an active volcano, is one of the main tourist attractions on Lombok.

The tremor, which lasted around 10 seconds, struck the central Indonesian island in the early hours of Sunday.

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According to an estimate by the BNPB, thousands of houses were damaged and over 6,200 families were affected in the earthquake.

Ten of the deaths, including one Malaysian victim, took place in eastern Lombok while the other four occurred in the northern part of the island.

The earthquake was also felt on the neighbouring islands of Bali and Sumbawa.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a zone of high seismic and volcanic activity that experiences around 7,000 tremors mostly of moderate intensity every year.

In 2004, a huge 9.3 magnitude earthquake under the sea off the coast of the western island of Sumatra triggered a tsunami which killed 1,68,000 people in Indonesia and a further 50,000 people in various countries around the Indian Ocean.

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–IANS

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