A Massive Earthquake Kills Hundreds, Lifts An Entire Island 10 Inches


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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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A deadly earthquake that killed hundreds on an island in Indonesia Aug. 5 was powerful enough to shift the island’s altitude by as much as 10 inches.

The death toll on the island of Lombok rose to 387 Saturday, up from 321 the day before, as Indonesian officials try to grasp the severity of the natural disaster. Some emergency and rescue teams continue to dig through rubble while others try to get an accurate count of the dead already buried by surviving family members, The Associated Press reports. (RELATED: Magnitude 7 Earthquake Shakes Indonesian Island, At Least 91 Dead)

“It’s estimated the death toll will continue to grow because there are still victims who are suspected of being buried by landslides and collapsed buildings and there are deaths that have not been recorded,” Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said, according to the AP.

The magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Lombok as islanders were still recovering from a magnitude 6.4 quake that hit a week before on July 29. The first earthquake resulted in the deaths of 20 people and left hundreds of hikers stranded throughout the island. The hikers were eventually rescued, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“A lot of people are displaced, and many have migrated to the hilly and mountainous areas because of fear of a tsunami,” Red Cross representative Husni Husni told CNN.

NASA and California Institute of Technology scientists said the Aug. 5 quake lifted the northwest area of the island, the closest area to the earthquake’s fault line, by about 10 inches. Other parts of the island dropped by 2-6 inches, The AP reports.

Officials continue to assess the full extent of the damage while Indonesians and others try to find places to stay where they feel safe. Many of the injured insist on being treated outdoors, afraid another quake or aftershock could bring a building down on top of them, Mataram Search and Relief official Gusti Lanang Wisnuwandana told CNN.

“We are still waiting for assessments from some of the more remote areas in the north of the island, but it is already clear that Sunday’s earthquake was exceptionally destructive,” International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies representative Christopher Rassi told CNN.

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