An Indonesian village security officer examines the remains of houses, after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Lombok, Indonesia, on July 29. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Masterton artist safe in Lombok

CAL ROBERTS
cal.roberts@age.co.nz

A Masterton holidaymaker in Indonesia is safe after the tourist Island of Lombok, east of Bali, was rocked by an earthquake on Sunday.

Masterton-based artist Helene Carroll was in Lombok during the magnitude 7.0 quake, which struck early Sunday evening, 6.47pm local time [10.47pm NZT], at a depth of 10.5km in the island’s north.

The death toll had reached 91 Monday afternoon, with more than 200 injured.

In an early morning Facebook post, Carroll told friends and family she was safe.

She was with friends at a restaurant when the earthquake struck, and said staff and patrons began to flee the building, pouring out on to the street.

The restaurant’s owner then informed Carroll of a tsunami warning.

Carroll and her friends left for high ground, collecting others along the way.

“In the chaotic aftermath, we met three young Spanish tourists who were a bit freaked out,” she said.

Helene Carroll. PHOTO/FILE

“We took them to higher ground and stayed up there at a friend’s house until the worst of the aftershocks had subsided.”

The tsunami warning was subsequently lifted, and Carroll returned to the island’s Senggigi Beach. She reported “a significant amount of damage to some buildings”.

Facts about the situation were hard to come by, she said.

“We are watching [TV station] Al Jazera and really don’t have any concrete news.

“There seems to be quite a lot of incorrect information online and a bit of panic and scaremongering which we don’t want to contribute to.

“We are staying close to our hotel. We have generator power and no water – but hopefully that will be sorted out soon.”

Carroll lived in Lombok 12 years ago and has many friends on the island.

She usually visited every year.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the New Zealand embassy was responding to the earthquake in Lombok.

This latest disaster comes a week after magnitude 6.4 quake on Lombok on July 29 which killed 16.

A ministry spokesperson said there were 447 New Zealanders registered as being in Indonesia on the ministry’s website, SafeTravel – which provides advice on what to do when Kiwi’s find themselves in trouble overseas.

Nine were registered as being in Lombok.

“We have no information to suggest New Zealanders have been affected by this incident at this stage,” a spokesperson said.

Justice Minister Andrew Little was also in Lombok to attend a counter-terrorism meeting where the opening dinner was being held on the 12th floor of a hotel building.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

All New Zealanders in Lombok are advised to register their details on safetravel.govt.nz, follow any instructions issued by the local authorities and let their family in New Zealand know they are okay.