Bali and southern Lombok are still safe to travel to, according to the Indonesian government, which is appealing to tourists not to cancel their trips in wake of an earthquake that’s devastated northern Lombok.
A 7.0 earthquake hit Lombok’s north on Sunday and has been followed by hundreds of aftershocks.
The current death toll varies, depending on whether you get your data from the National Search and Rescue Agency, the North Lombok regent, the military, or the West Nusa Tenggara governor, but estimates as of this morning are ranging from 226 to 381 dead, reports VIVA.
The earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks have wounded hundreds more, and forced the evacuation of thousands. A 6.2 earthquake, an apparent aftershock, struck north Lombok yesterday and could be felt briefly in Bali.
But even before Sunday’s big shake, a 6.4 earthquake hit the same part of the island on July 29, which had already killed 17 and prompted evacuations.
However, while the frequency of aftershocks is increasing, the strength is going down, says the country’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).
“After the earthquake in Lombok on July 29, to this day, we continue to monitor the earthquake. From the results of our monitoring data, the aftershocks are increasingly frequent, but the strength tends to decrease,” BMKG spokesperson Melki Adi Kurniawan said in Denpasar on Friday.
“We urge tourists vacationing in Bali and all local residents not to worry too much because the earthquake that occurred in Lombok does not have too much impact on Bali itself,” Kompas quoted Kurniawan as saying.
And if Bali’s safe enough for the Beckhams who are currently vacationing here…
Kurniawan has additionally condemned netizens spreading hoaxes, which has stirred panic, falsely claiming a tsunami was on the way.
“These issues are not true. They said there was another earthquake that triggered a tsunami, but it was very frightening and unsettling for tourists who were actually there,” he said.
There was a tsunami warning issued back on Sunday when the 7.0 earthquake hit, but it was quickly revoked.
That said, BMKG days Bali residents and tourists must remain vigilant and don’t even think about going to the Gilis right now, as they’ve been evacuated.
An emergency response period in West Nusa Tenggara has been declared until August 11 to handle the disaster.
Bali too has recently dealt with a decline in tourists as a result of a natural disaster. Local businesses were hit hard when the island saw massive amounts of trip cancellations as Bali’s Mount Agung erupted for months late last year.
Remembering Mount Agung, it seems Lombok residents have been quick this time around to plea to tourists to still visit the island’s south.