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Indonesia’s Sulawesi earthquake; 42 killed

Indonesia's Sulawesi earthquake; 42 killed 55

Jakarta: A 6.2-magnitude earthquake in Sulawesi Island early on January 15, 2021, left massive destruction and 42 people reportedly killed.  

Thirty-four bodies have been hauled from beneath, with hundreds of injured when the earthquake struck early in the morning in Mamuju, West Sulawesi province, and a population of about 110,000 residents.

 Another eight were killed south of the area after the quake struck.

“We don’t know how many more are missing. There are still people trapped beneath the rubble,” said Arianto from the rescue agency in Mamuju, who, like many Indonesians, goes by one name.

The quake’s epicenter was 6km northeast of Majene city, at a depth of 10km. 

The quake was felt strongly for about seven seconds but did not trigger a tsunami warning, and thousands had fled from their homes to seek safety when it hit just after 1 AM on Friday, damaging about 60 families. 

According to Sudirman Samual, two hotels, the governor’s office, and some buildings were severely damaged, based in Mamuju, told Reuters. 

A route into Mamuju had been cut off after damaging a bridge, and a hospital was leveled. 

Indonesia's Sulawesi earthquake; 42 killed 56
Damaged hospital in Mamuju city on Jan 15, 2021, after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake rocked Indonesia’s Sulawesi island. (Photo: AFP/Firdaus)

“The hospital is flattened – it collapsed,” said Arianto. “There are patients and hospital employees trapped under the rubble and we’re now trying to reach them,” he added.

Arianto added that rescuers were also trying to reach a family of eight trapped under their destroyed home’s rubble. 

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

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

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

Several tsunamis have struck the island, killing thousands of people, during 2004 and 2018.