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Rescue Operations for Hikers Trapped in Mt. Rinjani after Earthquake Underway

Efforts were underway on Monday to rescue more than 500 hikers stranded on Mount Rinjani on Indonesia’s Lombok Island, a day after a powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the popular tourist destination.

Helicopters and search teams on foot have been deployed to scour the slopes of Mount Rinjani, which is crisscrossed with hiking routes popular with tourists, while rescuers have made airdrops of food supplies to those stranded.

Tonnes of rock and mud were dislodged on the mountain in the 6.4-magnitude quake, which struck early Sunday and was followed by scores of aftershocks, leaving hikers with no easy way down to safety.

“There are still 560 people trapped. Five hundred are in Segara Anakan area, and 60 are in Batu Ceper,” said the head of Rinjani national park Sudiyono, who goes by one name.

Those believed to be stranded include citizens from the United States, France, The Netherlands, Thailand and Germany, as well as many other countries, search and rescue officials said.

At least 16 people were killed in the earthquake across affected areas of Lombok, while hundreds of buildings were destroyed.

The rescue operation on Mount Rinjani is likely to run until at least Tuesday and a military helicopter has dropped supplies at several spots on the mountain, according to search and rescue agency officials.

“For supplies, they can still survive for another one to two days,” Agus Hendra Sanjaya, spokesman for Mataram’s search and rescue agency, said.

No hikers are injured, he added.

Source: The Telegraph

Photo courtesy of Reuters

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