Sat | Jun 12, 2021

At least 34 dead as Indonesia quake topples houses, buildings

Published:Friday | January 15, 2021 | 9:22 AM
People react as the body of a relative is retrieved from the ruin of a building in an area affected by an earthquake in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia, Friday, January 15, 2021. A strong, shallow earthquake shook Indonesia's Sulawesi island just after midnight Friday, toppling homes and buildings, triggering landslides, and killing a number of people. (AP Photo/Yusuf Wahil)

MAMUJU, Indonesia (AP) — A strong, shallow earthquake shook Indonesia’s Sulawesi island just after midnight Friday, toppling homes and buildings, triggering landslides, and killing at least 34 people.

More than 600 people were injured during the magnitude 6.2 quake, which sent people fleeing their homes in the darkness.

Authorities were still collecting information about the full scale of casualties and damage in the affected areas.

There were reports of many people trapped in the rubble of collapsed homes and buildings.

In a video released by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, a girl stuck in the wreckage of a house cried out for help and said she heard the sound of other family members also trapped.

“Please help me, it hurts,” the girl told rescuers, who replied that they desperately wanted to help her.

The rescuers said an excavator was needed to save the girl and others trapped in collapsed buildings.

Other images showed a severed bridge and damaged and flattened houses.

TV stations reported the earthquake damaged part of a hospital and patients were moved to an emergency tent outside.

Another video showed a father crying, asking for help to save his children buried under their toppled house.

“They are trapped inside, please help,” he cried.

Thousands of displaced people were evacuated to temporary shelters.

The quake was centred 22 miles south of West Sulawesi province’s Mamuju district, at a depth of 11 miles, the US Geological Survey said.

The Indonesian disaster agency said the death toll climbed to 34 as rescuers in Mamuju retrieved 26 bodies trapped in the rubble of collapsed homes and buildings.

The agency said in a statement that eight people were killed and 637 others were injured in Mamuju’s neighbouring district of Majene.

It said at least 300 houses and a health clinic were damaged and about 15,000 people were being housed in temporary shelters in the district.

Power and phones were down in many areas.

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