A 5.8-magnitude undersea earthquake struck the Southern tip of Bali at 8:18 AM local time on July 16, Bali’s Disaster Response Agency (BNPB) said. While no fatalities have been reported, the quake caused significant damage to buildings across the area. The Southern tip of Bali includes Nusa Dua, Uluwatu, and Jimbaran – a common destination for tourists and surfers.
Flights at the local Ngurah Rai airport have not been affected and no tsunami warning has been issued.
As an immediate response, local resorts and schools took precautionary measures and evacuated tourists and students following the collapse of a resort’s entrance gate and a school’s roof.
The BNPB shared photos on its Twitter account showing the extent of the damage.
Nearby islands Lombok, Sumbawa, and Java also felt the quake, while Jembrana experienced nine aftershocks.
The earthquake caused brief panic, but local officials confirmed there is no cause for alarm. "We urge everyone to remain calm and disregard rumors that cannot be verified,” Daryono, a spokesperson for Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency, told local media.
Locals and tourists have taken to social media to share their experience.
“I just experienced my first ever earthquake (Bali). It was an interesting experience until it dawned on me what was actually happening, before I was running from the building screeching for my kids to do the same. I’m still shaking,” one Twitter user wrote.
As for the cause of the quake, Daryono said that based on the epicenter and the depth of the hypocenter, “it appears the earthquake was caused by subduction activity of the Indo-Australian plate and the Eurasian plate.”
Indonesia is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is home to many earthquake prone regions, including Bali and its surrounding areas. Neighboring island Lombok is still recovering from two major quakes in August 2018 that left over 100 dead and thousands displaced.