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    Lombok earthquake: 500 trapped climbers making their way down Indonesian peak

    Hundreds of people are making their way down Mount Rinjani after becoming trapped when a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that killed 17 peoplestruck the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok.
    Rescuers set off on Monday morning to help about 500 climbers who became stranded at two points on the mountain, Indonesia’s disaster agency said, after landslides caused by the powerful earthquake blocked some trails off the peak.
    The national park authority said a key route to the summit of the 3,726-metre (12,224ft) mountain had been cleared, and a helicopter was dropping supplies to people on other routes who were still picking their way to safety. “There are around 500 trekkers,” said Agung Pramuja, a disaster official in Indonesia’s West Nusa Tenggara region. “We expect they will arrive at the foot of the mountain at around 5pm (9am GMT).”
    He said a landslide triggered by the quake trapped a group of six people at the crater lake of Indonesia’s second-highest volcano. About 100 army, police and other rescuers were working to get people down, with helicopters scouring the area for others still trapped.
    Mount Rinjani is a popular destination for adventurous climbers. The strenuous trek to the summit takes at least two days
    Officials said 17 people died in Sunday’s earthquake, which was centred on the northern part of Lombok, but was also felt on the resort island of Bali to the west. More than 150 people were injured, many by collapsing buildings.
    The evacuation team, which set out at 7am, comprised 184 people, including military, police and medical personnel, volunteers and park staff.
    Park officials closed the climbing route on Sunday morning and the stranded trekkers were advised to stay in a safe place until the rescue team arrived.
    According to local reports an Indonesian climber from Makassar was killed by falling rocks during the landslide. Other climbers are believed to be in good health.
    The Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, arrived in Lombok on Monday morning to visit the victims and oversee the provision of aid, including cash to help residents rebuild their homes.
    Earthquakes are common in Indonesia, which is located on the seismically active “Ring of Fire” on the rim of the Pacific Ocean. 

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