Lombok quake: Rescuers search collapsed mosque for survivors

Rescue workers are searching the ruins of a mosque in Lombok, Indonesia, where it is feared people were trapped by Sunday’s deadly earthquake.

The 6.9 magnitude quake is now known to have killed over 100 people and left at least 20,000 people homeless.

The mosque is one of thousands of buildings in North Lombok that were damaged.

Two people have already been rescued from the rubble, according to the national search and rescue agency.

The earthquake struck last Sunday amid evening prayers. One witness told news agency AFP there may have been as many as 50 people in Jabal Nur mosque in Lading-Lading village at the time.

“Our imam ran, so the others followed,” 53-year-old Kelana said.

At least three crushed bodies have already been retrieved from the rubble.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said many sandals were found in front of the mosque, raising fears that more victims could be found.

 Disaster officials did not say how many people they believed were buried beneath the ruins of the mosque but the village head, Budhiawan, said it was about 30, based on unclaimed belongings left outside.

At another mosque – the West Pemenang masjid – up to 100 people were inside for a Quran recital when the earthquake struck.

As the building crumbled around them, most managed to escape. But not everyone could get out. Recovery operation is slow.

“I’m so disappointed that the Government hasn’t come here to clear up the mosque rubble. We’re the families and we are very worried because perhaps people are still alive in there,” he said.

“Please, Government come here and lift up all the rubble.”

Meanwhile, a clip showing an imam continuing to pray as a Bali mosque is rocked by the recent Indonesian earthquake has gone viral, with many praising the man for his steadfastness.

A spokesman for the Musholla As-Syuhada mosque told BBC News Indonesian that worshippers heard sounds from “the ceiling and the roof like it was going to fall, so we ran”. But the imam, named Arafat, stayed as he believed “his life was only for God to take” and so the mosque was “the best place to take shelter”. – BBC and agencies

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