#LombokEarthquake: Guide to surviving the aftermath for stranded tourists
ON JULY 29, 2018, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake jolted West Nusa Tenggara and Lombok.
14 people died in the incident, including a Malaysian tourist who was on a hiking trip to Mount Rinjani. The victim had been participating in a climbing mission with 17 other Malaysians, six of which have been injured while the others are safe.
In the days to come, more than 1,000 hikers would be successfully rescued from Mount Rinjani.
A week later, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake shook Lombok, its nearby Gili islands, and Bali. More powerful than the last, it flattened houses, toppled bridges, and killed a reported 142 people.
To date, 70,000 people have been left homeless and up to 2,000 tourists on the nearby Gili islands had to be evacuated by emergency services after the jetty was damaged.
While many tourists have been transported back to Lombok and Bali, the situation remains dire in certain areas in the Indonesian region, with reports of no electricity, no mobile connection, no access to sanitation facilities, lack of medicine and medical attention, no food, and no water.
Aid and assistance from the Indonesian government, military, and aid agencies have arrived, but due to the severity of the damage, the authorities are struggling to deliver them to some areas.
The Indonesian Tourism Ministry has established the Tourism Crisis Center in Lombok to help foreign and domestic tourists who are trapped in the region.
The center will take on tasks including transporting tourists on the affected Gili islands (Trawangan, Air, and Meno) to Lombok, as well as exploring heavily affected areas in search of tourists who require help.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya has requested shipping and airline companies to provide extra ships and aircraft to transport stranded tourists from Lombok to Bali, Surabaya, and Jakarta, on top of providing 10 buses to transport travelers to seaports and airports.
According to Tourism Crisis Management Deputy Director Dessy Ruhati, the Lombok International Airport is currently operating a full 24 hours a day to accommodate extra flights requested to and from overseas.
For those who can’t travel as of yet, there are 25 rooms that can be used for free in Mataram in West Lombok, as well as food and water.
Meanwhile, the West Nusa Tenggara tourist office post along with the Lombok tourist polytechnic team is operating a food truck at the West Nusa Tenggara tourist office.
The food truck, which has been in operation since Sunday, offers instant noodles, cookies, biscuits, coffee, tea, milk and teh tarik (pulled tea) to earthquake-affected tourists.
To date, more than 1,500 affected tourists have enjoyed the free food and beverages provided by the food truck.
Tourists who have been affected by the Lombok earthquake can contact the Foreign Visitor Help Desk at +62 878 6412 4151. The help desk can also respond to WhatsApp messages and help tourists who have lost their passports.
“Tourists with expired visas will not be subject to penalties. The Foreign Ministry will assist those in need of visa renewal,” kompas.com quoted Arief as saying.
While the ministry is focused on helping tourists, serious attention is being given by social affairs agencies to locals as well.
Many good Samaritans have also extended help, setting up GoFundMe pages to raise money for to help the locals affected by the earthquakes, such as Earthquake Relief for Lombok, EARTHQUAKE Lombok ForgottenChildren, and Help Lombok Communities, among others.