At least three dead as buildings collapse in Indonesia quake

Photo: AFP
  • Agence France-Presse
  • January 15, 2021 2:21 AM

Jakarta, Indonesia | At least three people were killed and dozens injured when a powerful quake rippled through the Indonesian island of Sulawesi early Friday, toppling several buildings, including a hotel.

The 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck in the early hours, triggering panic among the terrified residents of the island, which was hit by a huge quake two and a half years ago in which thousands were killed.

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."

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Raditya Jati said three people had been killed and 24 injured.

The country's search-and-rescue agency confirmed that at least one hotel had collapsed after the quake struck at 2:18 am local time Friday (1818 GMT Thursday).

The epicentre was 36 kilometres (22 miles) south of Mamuju and the quake had a relatively shallow depth of 18 kilometres, 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.

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

In 2018, a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island left more than 4,300 people dead or missing. 

On December 26, 2004, a 9.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including around 170,000 in Indonesia.

© Agence France-Presse

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