Prayers are being offered after almost 100 people have been confirmed dead after a magnitude-6.9 earthquake struck Indonesia’s Lombok Island on August 5, a week after another powerful quake killed more than a dozen people.
The country’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency said more than 200 people were injured in the latest quake, which also jolted the neighbouring tourist island of Bali, damaged thousands of buildings and forced thousands of people to flee their homes.
Pope Francis sent words of condolences and solidarity to Indonesia authorities on August 6 through Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.
Cardinal Parolin said the Pope was praying “especially for the repose of the deceased, the healing of the injured and the consolation of all who grieve the loss of their loved ones”.
“In offering encouragement to the civil authorities and those involved in the search and rescue efforts as they assist the victims of this disaster, His Holiness willingly invokes upon the people of Indonesia divine blessings of consolation and strength,” the message said.
A disaster mitigation agency representative said the victims urgently need medical supplies, clean water, food, blankets, mattress and tents.
Among the damaged buildings was St Mary Immaculate Church in the West Nusa Tenggara provincial capital of Mataram.
“The quake was stronger than before. The church ceiling fell down, but the church’s walls remain intact,” Fr Laurensius Maryono, a priest at the parish, said this week.
“There were no casualties as there was no religious activities going on in the church when the quake occurred.
“Some parishioners are currently trying to clean up the church and get rid of the debris,” he added.
The parish emergency response team was coordinating with one from the Diocese of Denpasar.
“They will go to the worst-hit areas of North Lombok and East Lombok districts to collect data. We will continue to collect aid for victims, something we had started doing for victims of last week’s quake,” the priest said.
The disaster mitigation agency reported that last week’s quake killed at least 16 people, left 355 people injured and forced more than 5,100 people to flee their homes.
Meanwhile, Holy Spirit Cathedral Parish in Denpasar, Bali province, reported only slight damage in the quake.
More than 130 aftershocks were recorded following the latest quake.