Five South Africans caught up in deadly Indonesia quake are safe: Dirco

Foreign tourists wait for transportation after arriving from the nearby Gili islands at the port in Bangsal northern Lombok island on August 6. ─ AFP

The quake shattered homes and lives across the vast archipelago, displacing more than 84,000 people, according to disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

"We lack the infrastructure to perform operations because (they) need to be performed in a sterile place", Wibowo told AFP.

Alimuddin's ordeal underlines the chaotic scenes across Lombok, a volcanic island to the east of Bali, after the shallow 6.9-magnitude quake struck Sunday evening.

Reports said the 6.9-magnitude quake which struck the Indonesian tourist islands of Lombok on Sunday killed almost 100 people and left at least 20 000 others homeless.

For many, food and water remains in short supply and people are afraid to return to their homes - that is if they are still standing.

Military planes have since been scrambled to bring food, medicine, tents and water to island residents in desperate need of aid.

A woman's body was recovered from the rubble of a collapsed mosque on Wednesday morning in Bangsal district in the north of the island.

There are fears the death toll will rise as workers with heavy machinery claw through the rubble of homes, schools and mosques, with hopes of finding any survivors fading.

The epicenter of the quake was in northern Lombok, a more residential and less developed part of the island. "It was really extraordinary to see and I feel for those that can't just cut their vacation short or rearrange their hotel bookings", she said, adding: "The people who are really affected by the natural disaster are those that are left picking up the pieces not us tourists".

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On Tuesday, panicked and terrified holidaymakers rushed to leave the island after it was hit with a second deadly quake.

Lombok had already been hit by a 6.4 quake on July 29 that killed 17 people and briefly stranded several hundred trekkers on the slopes of a volcano.

Small waves of less than half a meter were reported in several areas along the northern coasts of Lombok and Bali, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said.

"Some of us had to smash glass windows to get out", he said.

"We saw walls that had collapsed, houses that had caved in on themselves, people were screaming, people were injured", she said.

A large number of foreign and local tourists are still waiting to be evacuated from popular tourist island Gili Trawangan Island in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, and some are faced with dehydration.

"We think we may attempt that tomorrow, but since we are now evacuated, we don't know".

"We were sitting there having dinner at about 7 o'clock last night, we just felt a really big sort of shaking and the lights went off and everyone just ran", Australian tourist Kim Liebelt said as he waited with other travelers for a flight out at Lombok's global airport.

Officials said an operation is now underway to evacuate thousands of tourists from Lombok and nearby islands. Lombok lies on the Ring of Fire, a belt surrounding the Pacific Ocean that is especially prone to earthquakes and volcanoes.

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