Singaporean couple survives two Lombok quakes
They had stayed behind to help local villagers
For the second time in two weeks, a Singaporean couple survived an earthquake on the Indonesia island of Lombok.
On July 29, Mr Mohamad Tahar Jumaat, 50, and his wife were there to facilitate the overseas community involvement programme for 20 National University of Singapore students when the first quake struck.
The Singaporeans survived the 6.4-magnitude quake that killed 14 people.
Then, on Sunday evening, the second one measuring 7 on the Richter scale struck, killing at least 98 people.
The couple told The New Paper this was more terrifying than the first.
After sending the NUS students off on their flight home last Tuesday, Mr Tahar and his wife stayed on to help in the humanitarian efforts in Sembalun, a village near Mount Rinjani on Lombok. The area experienced aftershocks the past week but Mr Tahar reassured his wife they were safe.
The director of IUVA Global, a company that designs overseas trips to Lombok for young Singaporeans, said they were so scared after the second quake they decided to rest at their hotel's lobby instead of in their room.
His wife, Madam Rosmawati Moenir, 47, told TNP yesterday the timing of the second quake made it more nerve-wracking than the first.
She said they were in a car on their way to a hotel near the airport when it happened.
She said: "It was very dark and the electricity was down. I panicked and wanted to run out of the car. People were crying and hugging each other. There was screaming everywhere."
Mr Tahar said they remained after the first quake as they felt a need to help the locals whom he has known since 2013.
The couple and their team raised $19,000 during the week, which was given to about 400 families whose houses had been destroyed.
Mr Tahar said: "We hope that with the money, they can buy something to cheer themselves up or cover immediate needs not covered by standard relief aid.
"People were sharing about the shortages, and some were frustrated with the distribution of aid."
During the week, the couple slept in a tent in the open.
They flew out of Lombok to Kuala Lumpur yesterday and arrived in Singapore in the evening.
Following the quake, disaster relief agencies like the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) and Mercy Relief have said they will send aid to help victims.
SRC will send $50,000 to the Indonesian Red Cross and plans to deploy a response team to support relief distribution and conduct ground assessments.
Mercy Relief's disaster response team will leave Singapore today to conduct emergency relief operations and work with its ground partners.