A Sydney mum hosting a yoga retreat on an Indonesian island has revealed the desperate measures she took after a deadly earthquake cut off all power, creating havoc as terrified tourists tried to evacuate.
Anneriek Favelle and her two boys Jack and Fin, had just enjoyed a dinner on one of Gili Air’s idyllic beaches before she gave them permission to head back to their accommodation ahead of her on Sunday night.
Just moments later a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck the neighbouring resort island of Lombok, going on to kill at least 98 people.
“The buildings were moving… I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared, I started running back,” Ms Favelle told Yahoo7 News.
Much to her relief, the 50-year-old found the boys, aged 10 and 11, safe and sitting next to a half-empty pool that had been rocked by the quake.
In the hours and days that followed, Ms Favelle said panicked tourists desperately attempted to overload tiny boats and return to Lombok – a plan that scared her more than staying on the island.
“Having my two boys amongst all the panic, the risk was much higher (at the harbour) than back in the middle of the island,” she added.
With little communication from anyone but her husband back in Sydney, the admittedly nervous mum made the decision stay put, despite fears of a tsunami.
She said she and others were forced to take food and water from local stores in order to survive.
“It’s horrible to walk into a shop and take things, it feels very unpleasant,” she said, adding that she has been collecting money to repay the shop owner.
The group also made the difficult decision to cut free some of the local horses to give them their best chance of survival.
“There’s lots of horses everywhere here, we thought it would give them their best chance to find food and water,” she said.
With lingering fears another earthquake or tsunami could strike, the trio are spending their nights sleeping outdoors in the centre of the island, with plans to board a boat back to Lombok once the chaos has subsided.
She said they will try and board a flight to Bali on Thursday before flying back to Sydney.
Aussies caught on Lombok must ‘be patient’
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop urged Australians stranded on the resort islands to be patient and cooperate with local authorities.
Australian consular staff are also working alongside Indonesian authorities to ensure holiday-makers trapped on the Gili Islands are safely evacuated.
Ms Bishop will meet with her Indonesian counterpart on Tuesday, having spoken with her several times in recent days.
“The Indonesian government has not asked for any assistance. We have said if there’s something we can do to assist in this natural disaster we certainly would offer,” Ms Bishop said.The Indonesian military said it would send a ship with medical aid, supplies and logistics support.
Officials said more than 2000 people had been evacuated from the three Gili islands off the northwest coast of Lombok, when fears of another tsunami spread.