A powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake on the Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island killed at least seven people and hundreds suffered injuries in the wee hours of Friday, the country’s disaster mitigation agency said. Panicked residents fled to safer areas after many buildings were damaged.
The epicentre of the earthquake was six kilometres (3.73 miles) northeast of Majene city, at a depth of 10 kilometres.
Information from the country’s disaster mitigation agency showed that four people had died and 637 others were injured in Majene. However, there were three more fatalities and two dozen injured reported in the neighbouring province of Mamuju.
Thousands had fled their homes to seek safety when the quake hit just after 1 am local time on Friday. Over 60 homes have been damaged, the agency said.
The earthquake was felt strongly for about seven seconds but did not trigger a tsunami warning.
Residents flee to safer places
Videos on social media showed residents fleeing to higher ground on motorcycles, and a child trapped under the rubble as people tried to remove debris with their bare hands.
Some buildings were badly damaged, including hospitals, hotels, the governor’s office and a mall, Sudirman Samual, a journalist based in Mamuju, north of the epicentre, told Reuters.
At least one route into Mamuju had been cut off, he said, due to damage to a bridge.
Hours earlier on Thursday, a 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck in the same district damaging several houses.
Indonesia’s disaster agency said a series of quakes in the past 24 hours had caused at least three landslides, and the electricity supply had been cut.
Straddling the so-called Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, Indonesia, a nation of high tectonic activity, is regularly hit by earthquakes.
In 2018, a devastating 6.2-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami struck the city of Palu, in Sulawesi, killing thousands of people.