Earthquake hits Indonesia, at least 34 dead, dozens trapped

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A strong earthquake hit Indonesia’s Sulawesi island early Friday morning, killing at least 34 people, while dozens are trapped in collapsed buildings.

The 6.2-magnitude quake struck in the early hours, triggering panic among the terrified residents of the island.

The head if the local disaster mitigation agency, Mamuju city, Ali  Rahman said  “The latest information we have is that 34 people are dead, adding “that number could grow”.

Many of the dead are buried under rubble,” he said.

Rescuers were searching for more than a dozen patients and staff trapped beneath the rubble of the levelled Mamuju hospital.

The country’s search-and-rescue agency said at least one hotel had partially collapsed after the quake struck at 2:18 am local time Friday (1818 GMT Thursday), while the regional governor’s office also suffered extensive damage.

The meteorological agency warned residents that the area could be hit by strong aftershocks and to avoid the beachfront in case of a tsunami.

The aftershocks could be as strong, or stronger, than this morning’s quake,” said Dwikorita Karnawati, chief of the meteorological agency.

There is potential for a tsunami from subsequent aftershocks… Don’t wait for a tsunami first because they can happen very quickly,” she added.

The local airport in Mamuju had also been damaged, authorities said.

The quake’s epicentre was 36 kilometres (22 miles) south of Mamuju and it had a relatively shallow depth of 18 kilometres, the United States Geological Survey said.

Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide.

 

 


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