A 6.2-magnitude earthquake on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island killed at least seven people and injured hundreds on Friday (Jan 15), the country’s disaster mitigation agency said, as panicked residents fled to safer areas after many buildings were damaged.
The epicentre of the quake was 6km northeast of Majene city at a depth of 10km.Thousands had fled their homes to seek safety when the quake hit just after 1am local time on Friday morning, damaging at least 60 homes, the agency said.
Initial information from the country’s disaster mitigation agency showed that four people had died and 637 others were injured in Majene, while there were three more fatalities and two dozen injured in the the neighbouring province of Mamuju.
A resident of Mamuju, the capital of West Sulawesi, said damage across the city of some 110,000 was extensive, with one hospital severely damaged. Authorities had yet to confirm the information.
“Roads are cracked and many buildings collapsed, including the governor’s office as well as the hospital. The hospital has been flattened,” said 28-year-old Hendra, who goes by one name.
“The quake was very strong... I woke up and ran away with my wife.”
The search-and-rescue agency confirmed that at least one hotel had collapsed after the quake struck at 2.18am local time Friday.The epicentre was 36km south of Mamuju and the quake had a relatively shallow depth of 18km, the United States Geological Survey said.
Images supplied by the search-and-rescue agency showed what appeared to be the metal building frames and other debris on the ground near a local hospital.
Another showed rescue workers checking on two sisters who were trapped under rubble. It was not clear where they were trapped.
The quake was felt strongly for about seven seconds but did not trigger a tsunami warning.
Videos on social media showed residents fleeing to higher ground on motorcycles, and a child trapped under the rubble as people tried to remove debris with their bare hands.
Some buildings were badly damaged, including two hotels, the governor’s office and a mall, Sudirman Samual, a journalist based in Mamuju, north of the epicentre, told Reuters.
At least one route into Mamuju had been cut off, he said, due to damage to a bridge.
Hours earlier on Thursday, a 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck in the same district damaging several houses.
Indonesia’s disaster agency said a series of quakes in the past 24 hours had caused at least three landslides, and the electricity supply had been cut.
Straddling the so-called Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, Indonesia, a nation of high tectonic activity, is regularly hit by earthquakes.
In 2018, a devastating 6.2-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami struck the city of Palu, in Sulawesi, killing thousands of people.
Source: The Straits Times