Three people have been killed when a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck the island of Lombok in Indonesia, a popular tourist destination, the country’s disaster mitigation agency has said.
The quake struck at 6.47am local time, and its epicentre was located 50km north-east of the city of Mataram on the island of Lombok, which has a population of 319,000.
Tourists near Senggigi, gateway to the popular Gili Islands resorts, reported strong shocks.
“We jumped out of our beds to avoid anything falling on our heads,” said Jean-Paul Volckaert who was woken by the quake in the Puncak hotel.
“We were very surprised as the water in the pools was swaying like a wild sea. There were waves in the pools but only for 20 to 30 seconds,” he said, adding that there was no damage to the hotel.
Many buildings were damaged, Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency said.
Indonesia’s geophysics and meteorology agency said at least 11 aftershocks were recorded after the earthquake.
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The epicentre was 130km north-east of the island’s main city of Mataram and was very shallow, which would have amplified its effect.
“So far we have not received any report on damages,” agency spokesman Hary Tirto Djatmiko said in a statement. No tsunami alert was issued, he added.
People living near the epicentre felt a strong jolt.
“The earthquake was very strong … and everybody in my house panicked, we all ran outside,” said Zulkifli, a resident of North Lombok, close to the epicentre.
“All my neighbours also ran outside and the electricity was suddenly cut off,” he said.
Indonesia, an archipelago of thousands of islands, sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a seismic activity hotspot.
It is frequently hit by quakes, most of them harmless. However, the region remains acutely alert to tremors that might trigger tsunamis. In 2004, a tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.3 undersea earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, in western Indonesia, killed 220,000 people in countries around the Indian Ocean, including 168,000 in Indonesia.
The latest earthquake was on land and did not trigger any waves or tsunami but authorities issued a yellow alert, suggesting there was a possibility of casualties.
A 6.4 magnitude is strong enough to cause injuries and damage to buildings, but largely depends on how densely populated the affected area is.
In February, an earthquake of that strength hit Taiwan, killing 17 people and injuring hundreds more.
In 2016, 1.248 million Australians visited Indonesia. Bali was the main destination, but Lombok has become increasingly popular.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been contacted about whether there are any reports of of Australian casualties