Lombok earthquake: Hikers trapped on mountain after landslides

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Media captionIndonesia earthquake: ‘Massive damage’ in Lombok village

More than 200 hikers are trapped on a mountain on the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok, after a deadly earthquake triggered landslides which cut off escape routes.

Hundreds of rescue workers are now working to evacuate them from Mount Rinjani, a popular hiking destination.

The 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck early on Sunday not far from the base of the mountain.

At least 16 people have died, and more than 160 were injured in the quake.

Helicopter and search teams working on foot are searching the mountainside to locate the stranded climbers.

Who has been affected?

Thousands of homes have been damaged and hundreds have been left homeless as substantial aftershocks rocked Lombok and neighbouring Bali island.

A Malaysian tourist who was on a hiking trip to Mount Rinjani was among those killed. Another young Indonesian hiker was also killed by falling rocks.

Hikers from France, Thailand, the Netherlands and Malaysia are among those waiting to be evacuated off Mount Rinjani.

Authorities say more than 500 people, mostly foreign tourists, have already come down from the mountain but 266 are still trapped up there. Helicopters are now searching for the stranded.

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An earthquake survivor receives medical treatment at a temporary shelter in Lombok

One tour guide, named as Sukanta, described the situation of those still on the mountain.

“Some of the people [were at] the lake, because the location of the lake is in the middle…they cannot go anywhere because of landslides… They have to stay near the lake,” he said.

A group of Malaysian tourists, who have now reached safety and are due to leave Lombok by plane on Monday had earlier posted for help on Facebook.

What are conditions like on the island?

Many villagers have been left in camps as the earthquake destroyed their homes.

Dramatic footage filmed by guides on the mountain at the time of the earthquake showed huge landslides near the crater lake.

Rinjani, a volcanic mountain, draws hundreds of thousands of climbers from across the world each year, says BBC Indonesian editor Rebecca Henschke on the island. At 3,726 metres (12,224 feet) above sea level, it is the second-tallest volcano in Indonesia.

The ‘terrifying moment’

Rebecca Henschke, BBC Indonesian, Lombok

The only health centre in Sembalun at the foothills of Mount Rinjani was damaged in the earthquake, so tents have been set up to treated the injured until ambulances arrive to take them to the nearest hospital.

Indonesians are no strangers to earthquakes but the power of Sunday’s has people on edge here and each time there are aftershocks people run out into the open.

Clouds are gathering over Mount Rinjani where rescue workers are slowly bringing down the remaining hikers via alternative routes not affected by landslides.

In the tents, amongst the injured is a porter who rushed down from mountain when the earthquake struck and is being treated for dehydration.

Videos filmed by guides on mobile phones captured the terrifying moment when the quake hit with people yelling for everyone to come down.

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Houses have been left destroyed after earthquakes in Lombok

Are earthquakes common in Indonesia?

Yes. Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because it lies on the Ring of Fire – the line of frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions that circles virtually the entire Pacific rim.

More than half of the world’s active volcanoes above sea level are part of the ring.

In 2004, a huge undersea earthquake off the coast of Aceh killed more than 160,000 people in Indonesia alone.

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