Quake sets off landslides, kills at least 3 in Indonesia

Quake sets off landslides, kills at least 3 in Indonesia

A 6.2-magnitude quake on Indonesia's Sulawesi island killed at least seven people and injured hundreds on Friday, said the country's disaster mitigation agency.

The quake was centered 36 kilometers (22 miles) south of West Sulawesi province's Mamuju district, at a depth of 18 kilometers (11 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Residents inspect earthquake-damaged houses in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia on Friday [Rudy Akdyaksyah/AP] Several thousand panicked residents fled their homes to seek safety after the quake, which did not trigger a tsunami warning but was felt strongly for about seven seconds, the statement said.

Safaruddin Sanusi, a spokesman for the West Sulawesi provincial government, told Reuters that 10 people had died in Majene, and in the neighbouring district of Mamuju, with more fatalities likely amid ongoing search and rescue efforts.

People look at the damaged province's office of governor of West Sulawesi following an quake in Mamuju, West Sulawesi province, Indonesia, January 15, 2021 in this photo taken by Antara Foto.

Indonesia's meteorology, climatology and geophysical agency, known by its Indonesian acronym BMKG, warned of the dangers of aftershocks and the potential for a tsunami.

"Numerous dead are buried under rubble".

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

Some buildings were badly damaged, including two hotels, the governor's office and a mall, Sudirman Samual, a journalist based in Mamuju, north of the epicentre, told Reuters.

A damaged auto and buildings are seen following an quake in Mamuju, West Sulawesi province, Indonesia, January 15, 2021 in this photo taken by Antara Foto.

A Mamuju resident said damage across the city was severe, but the full extent of the disaster and casualties was not immediately clear. "The quake was very strong".

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

"Mamuju is now empty, everyone went to the mountains", he said.

A video circulating on social media showed rescue workers checking on two sisters who were trapped under rubble. "They are trapped inside, please help", he cried.

"Numerous dead are buried under rubble", he said.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 260 million people, is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the "Ring of Fire", an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

In 2018, a devastating 6.2 magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami struck the city of Palu, in Sulawesi, killing thousands of people.

A powerful Indian Ocean quake and tsunami in 2004 killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries, majority in Indonesia.

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