Strong earthquake hits Indonesia leaving dozens dead
The 6.2 magnitude tremor has caused a power blackout, disrupted mobile phone networks and cut off road access, with 15,000 people relocated
Jakarta — At least 34 people were killed and thousands evacuated after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia’s West Sulawesi in the early hours Friday, according to the national disaster mitigation management.
More than 600 people were injured from the quake that damaged a hotel, the governor’s office, hundreds of houses and a local health facility, the agency, BNPB, said in a statement. About 15,000 people were relocated to 15 locations. It also caused a power blackout, disrupted mobile phone networks and cut off road access.
The island of Sulawesi accounts for more than 6% of the country’s GDP, with West Sulawesi’s economy mainly driven by agriculture.
Indonesia’s 18,000 islands sit along the Pacific Ocean’s “ring of fire” zone of active volcanoes and tectonic faults, making it prone to earthquakes.
The tremor rocked West Sulawesi at 1.28am. Jakarta time on Friday, with the epicentre 6km from the coast at a depth of 10km. It didn’t generate a tsunami.
“Residents are still advised to stay away from buildings and beaches” for fear of collapse and a tsunami could still occur in possible aftershocks, Dwikorita Karnawati, Indonesia’s head of Meteorological, Climatological, and Geophysical Agency said in a briefing.
President Joko Widodo called citizens to remain calm and has ordered authorities to take emergency responses to find and evacuate the victims.
Indonesia’s state energy holding company Pertamina said there’s no meaningful damage to its fuel distribution and facilities. As many as 872 electricity distribution points were affected by the quake with half of them restored, state power firm Perusahaan Listrik Negara said in a statement.
Nearby airports are running normally despite minor damage to one of them, according to the transport ministry.
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