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Earthquake / Tsunami Alert

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Earthquake / Tsunami Alert


I am planning to go to Lombok for the wekeend next week.

I am wondering if there are good alert systems there for natural disasters or any travel alerts now for tourists planning to visit Lombok this month?

Lombok, Indonesia
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1. Re: Earthquake / Tsunami Alert

The coastal Desa (District) governments get an sms alert from the Tsunami alert system. I am aware the Desa of Senggigi is provided with that system. The others I am not so sure about. In theory the information would spread by word of mouth and would also be broadcasted on the Mosque public address systems throughout the coastal districts. Despite some visitors concerns and complaints about these often noisy PA systems they are also an essential local communications system and are normally used for any important community announcements.

Really I do not have much confidence in any 'alert' system disseminating the required information quickly enough for anything meaningful to happen unless the earthquake was a long way away and if it was a long way away then a local alert would most likely not be required. There are many earthquakes in Indonesia, they have not been causing tsunami in Lombok as the potentially catastrophic outcomes are considerably mitigated by both the distance and the local topography. We often experience tremors in the the region and occasional earthquakes, generally any damage is very localised.

In the event of a local eathquake just get clear of any structures asap. Some locations do have signs showing which way to run but do not waste your time looking for them. My suggestion is that if you see what appears to be people running about in a blind panic and you hear a lot of excited sounding broadcasts being issued from the Mosques then look for some high ground asap. If you have any time quickly grab drinking water, a blanket, bedsheet or similar for some basic sun shelter, comfort and warmth. Your identity documents and cash may be useful in a disaster. Move toward high ground without delay of any kind as in these situations it is often seconds and minutes in time that matter, not passports and ipods.

Do make sure though that any apparently chaotic event is not just some local chaos arising from someone getting married as that can sometimes cause a bit of local excitement. Groups of people may seemingly spontaneously start moving about and gathering in often quite large numbers. Sometimes the proceedings can also give rise to some road users adopting style of driving somewhat more appropriate to an apocalyptic event. Generally after a while the approaching sound of portable amplified music, the beating of drums and clashing cymbals explains the event as being somewhat benign in character.

Normally during a tremor wooden framed buildings just wobble about and remain safe. Immediately evacuate any structure with a tiled roof as they are heavy and the tiles may fall and cause injury.

If you want to be prepared make a copy of the main page of your passport, have it plastic laminated and carry it in your pocket at all times. Another useful thing to always have at hand would be a basic packet of water sterilisation tablets, a small bottle of iodine based antiseptic liquid such as Betadine or similar and a 10 tablet strip of generic paracetamol.

To the south of Lombok, Bali and Sumbawa the Eurasia tectonic plate pushes over the Australian plate creating the fault line that gave rise to the earthquake in Sumatra and the subsequent tsunami that swept across the Indian Ocean on 26 dec 2004 Tsunami. Bali, Lombok and Sumbawa are situated toward the southern boundary of the Eurasian plate.

Most of the tourism activity in Lombok is concentrated along the western coastline.

The Lombok Strait runs at a perpendicular to the fault line occurring at the more southerly plate intersection.

The good news is the ocean floor topography of the Lombok Strait, the alignment of the west coast of the island to the major fault-line running to the south of Lombok and the indented series of bays and coves all assist in lessening the effect of a potentially catastrophic tsunami effecting that coastline.

Accordingly should there be a potentially catastrophic event the most likely outcome would probably be a tidal surge rather than a tsunami. The Lombok Strait is a very deep valley and so the energy is going to be dissipated into the water body rather than into forming the typical and potentially more destructive tsunami wave form. The effects would depend on the circumstances of the earthquake such as depth, location and duration, and your own individual location in relation to it. The timing relative to the moon effected tide (high or low), the wind strength (pushing the sea up as well) in conjunction with local topography would also effect the height, inland reach and duration of any such surge.

Lombok does have a large civil police force, an army, navy and airforce presence and a very limited search and rescue response service. A reasonable civil response could be expected to deal with any serious disaster but local resources would probably be compromised by the event and are likely to be exhausted almost immediately. Communications and travel by road along the coastline or inland via Pusak Pass may be very difficult. If the telephone and cellphone networks were knocked out then radio communications would also be very difficult due to the undulating terrain. There is currently no established VHF or UHF radio system as a back-up communications network for the civil authorities. I imagine if it was still functional the Bluebird and Express taxi radio networks could be used for such purposes and would supplement police and military communications networks. There is also a limited ham radio network in Lombok and Bali and if their repeaters and towers were undamaged that would also provide some communications assistance in a major disaster.

It must be understood that Lombok is situated in a remote province of a large developing nation.

In the event of a serious natural disaster intervention from the Indonesian central government would be reasonably swift but services would be knocked out for an extended time. Indeed they are pretty tenuous even at the best of times. It is also reasonable to expect that the nearby nations including Australia, Malaysia and Singapore would also lend immediate support. Most of the larger resorts and hotels have a security team and in most cases they are resident reasonably close to the hotel.

The local communities in Lombok are used to hardship and adversity and would no doubt do their best to assist any visiting tourists as best as they could. It must be borne in mind that for the majority of Lomboks residents their daily living conditions are not much better or possibly worse than those present in a disaster stuck western nation. Many of them live from day-to-day without running water, power and other services.

Due to the erratic local power supply most hotels have their own standby electrical generation systems and independent water supplies, normally from either wells or bores. If the region was struck by a major disaster many of the local residents may not even notice any significant difference in their normal daily life.

In Lombok we are used to the power and water utility supplies going off on a regular basis and the cellphone, internet and telephone services providing erratic availability. I guess that should give some reassurance that people and businesses here are already used to being reasonably self sufficient and resourceful and would be well disposed toward coping with any serious adversity that may arise, certainly at least in the short to medium term. We do after all get plenty of practise.

There are NO current outstanding concerns, warnings or apparent danger in the region other than the normal prudent concerns and considerations of travelling in a slightly remote part of 3rd world country. Mount Rinjani is the islands most prominent mountain and an active volcano, both Wikitravel http://wikitravel.org/en/Mount_Rinjani and Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Rinjani both have good articles on that mountain. You will find that beaches are un-patrolled and caution concerning rips and undertows should be maintained if swimming.

In the event that something bad happens to yo it is best not to wait around for assistance, it may never come. Be calm, forthright and resourceful, take control of the situation and requisition any available transport to move toward aid rather than wait for aid or assistance to come to you. For example people here normally do not call an ambulance, they use a public transport vehicle, a police vehicle if they are on site, taxi or a motor bike to go to the islands main public hospital. Contact your insurer as soon as possible but do not just wait for them to assist you as you may be waiting a very long time and they will most likely have no realistic idea of how to appropriately manage the situation in-situ and any response they render will be delayed by procrastination, liability evasion and avoidance, poor communications, insufficient local knowledge of the region, corporate ineptitude and inadequate crisis management abilities.

People are frequently seriously damaged from car and more often motorbike accidents. I do not know anyone that has been hit in the head by a falling coconut, jackfruit or durian but the risk is apparent and I assume the result of any impact would probably render the victim terminally speechless if not immediately dead. People do occasionally fall out of trees when harvesting coconuts and a lot of fishermen go to sea and don't come back.

Avoid riding a motorbike, especially without a helmet and after consuming alcohol, sitting directly underneath a tree bearing very large and heavy fruits, climbing coconut trees or going to sea at night in a dug out canoe without an engine, a lifejacket or a flashlight and I am sure you will go home rested and safe at the end of your visit.

The Tsunami alert system tsunami-alarm-system.com/en/…abonnieren.php is available by subscription for €29.95 per year or €9.95 per month. I think it is possibly an unnecessary precaution but I will not discourage you from subscription, especially if it means you feel more relaxed and prepared for a worst case scenario.

Please do not feel alarmed by anything I have mentioned above. I think this is one of those situations where if the question is asked and a reasonably accurate answer is given it tends by default to catastophise the situation. Seriously the risks here are probably more from crazy driving, falling coconuts and passive smoking.

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2. Re: Earthquake / Tsunami Alert

Thank you for your informative response. It was very much appreciated!

That gave us the green light to go ahead with flight and hotel booking.We planned to stay in Oberoi because of all the nice reviews about it. Looks like we wont be reading a book under the coconut trees unless we have drank all the coconuts from the tree;)

planet earth
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3. Re: Earthquake / Tsunami Alert

J_Hurcules, you are amazing!

Thank you for your posts which don't seem to overlook a single detail, your information is invaluable.

Reminds me of my Aspergers son a little....lol...

Destination Expert
for Lombok
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4. Re: Earthquake / Tsunami Alert

With the Tsunami warning for Indonesia two days ago news spread by word of mouth first of all. I was down on Serenting beach near Kuta and got a call about it. As I drove through Kuta many of the beachfront warungs had shut up and left. Shortly after I got home the mosque was broadcasting a tsunami warning. As we are 1.5km from the beach and on higher ground, we had a lot of people in our house locals and tourists alike watching the news and sitting it out. Once the all clear was given they headed back down to Kuta. I would say pretty much everyone was aware of the situation very quickly. Of course it didnt reach us but having the warning at least people had the option of taking precautions and getting to higher ground.

Adelaide, Australia
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5. Re: Earthquake / Tsunami Alert

Wow! You truly have a huge brain j_hurcles.

Your detailed responses are wonderful.

All I can say is, when I'm in Lombok in May and if the necessity arises. I hope I choose the same hill as you for sanctuary.

I want to be a member of your tribe!

6. Re: Earthquake / Tsunami Alert

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