A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the tourist island of Lambok in West Nusa Tenggara province on July 29. (Source: EPA/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Indonesian authorities are stepping up efforts to rescue hundreds of trekkers who are trapped on Mount Rinjani after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the tourist island of Lambok in West Nusa Tenggara province on July 29.

According to spokesperson of Indonesia’s National Agency for Disaster Management Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, 246 people have been evacuated so far. A total 820 people, including 617 foreigners, were on Mount Rinjani when the earthquake struck, he added.

Two mountain trails were impassable due to the earthquake. According to Delik news, two helicopters were dispatched to rescue the victims and provide food for them.

An official of the disaster mitigation agency in North Lombok said those stuck on Mount Rinjani will be evacuated via the Sembalun trail. The rescue campaign will be carried out by the management team of Mount Rinjani National Park.

Earlier, 16 people were reported dead and hundreds were injured after the earthquake hit Indonesia’s southeast Lombok island, 100km east of resort island Bali. Around 1,000 houses were damaged in the disaster.

Indonesia, an archipelago of thousands of islands, sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a seismic activity hotspot.

It is frequently hit by earthquakes, most of them harmless. However, the region remains acutely alert to tremors that might trigger tsunamis.

In 2004 the tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.3 undersea earthquake off the coast of Sumatra in western Indonesia killed 220,000 people in the countries surrounding the Indian Ocean, including 168,000 in Indonesia alone. –VNA