Subjects: Lombok Earthquake
Live now to Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in Bali.
Minister, thanks for your time this morning. You were on Lombok when the earthquake hit, can you describe that moment for us?
Good morning Angie. Obviously a lot of the focus now is in the search and rescue; looking for people that might still be trapped and the number now is – as I’m advised a few minutes ago, has edged up to 99 of those who are confirmed dead and with an expectation, tragically, that that will rise higher. And given the experience that we had there on the night, it's not surprising.
We were staying in a hotel – we were staying on the 6th floor, there was a reception dinner for the Counter-Terrorism Conference that we were at on the 12th floor when the earthquake struck. So the building rocked, it swayed violently. Obviously the lights went out momentarily and we were eventually able to evacuate through the stairwell. But there'd been significant structural damage to the building and when you look at the damage around otherwise, we were fortunate that the building itself didn't collapse.
So now our attention, obviously, is squarely on trying to identify any Australians that may be in need of help and providing support to the Indonesians in any way that we can.
And Minister, you tweeted at the time that you were floored by the feeling. It must've been frightening.
Well look, I think it was for everyone there obviously. We were sort of knocked to the floor, there was no light obviously, as I say, for a period of time as well so it was in darkness. And as we went down the stairwell, it was obvious that the structural damage to the building with cracks and with concrete that had fallen off, doors that were on the ground and obviously glass that had shattered. So given, as I say, the swaying of the building, it gave us an understanding of just how significant an earthquake it was.
And obviously now we're seeing the footage of the devastation in the surrounding areas and for all of us, the Australian delegation, we're lucky to get out, but there was a lot of support by the Indonesian National Police, the Australian Federal Police and DFAT had done an exceptional job as well.
Peter Dutton, thank you very much for joining us this morning.