Australian delegates, minister 'safe' following Lombok earthquake
Ni Komang Erviani and Ivany Atina Arbi
The Jakarta Post
Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and a number of delegates who were on Lombok Island at the time of Sunday evening’s 7-magnitude earthquake have safely arrived in neighboring Bali.
“I thank the Lombok authorities, the police and others who assisted the Australian delegations and who are working with us in ensuring that assistance are being provided to those in need,” Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in Bali on Monday.
Dutton was in Lombok to attend the Sub Regional Meeting on Counterterrorism along with Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto.
Wiranto also announced on Sunday evening that all members of the delegation were safe.
“We decided to postpone the meeting because of the earthquake and encourage delegates to return to their respective home countries immediately,” he said.
The delegates were having dinner at a restaurant on the 12th floor of their hotel when the earthquake struck. The two-day counterterrorism meeting was scheduled to take place on Sunday and Monday.
Meanwhile, Bishop was in Bali to attend the Bali Process international forum and moderate a discussion on people smuggling, human trafficking and related transnational crimes.
She added that no Australian casualties or serious injuries were reported following the earthquake, which claimed at least 82 lives.
Despite the incident, Bishop believed that Australians would continue visiting Lombok and neighboring islands like Bali because they are “very popular tourist destinations for Australians". (evi)
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