Jakarta: At least 34 people were killed and hundreds injured after a powerful earthquake rocked Indonesia’s Sulawesi islands on Friday, reported news agency AFP. The epicentre of the quake was 6km northeast of Majene city, at a depth of 10km, the country’s disaster mitigation agency BNPB said. Also Read - 6.3 Magnitude Earthquake Felt in New Zealand
Initial information from BNPB showed that four people had died and 637 others were injured in Majene, while there were three more fatalities and two dozen injured in the neighbouring province of Mamuju. Also Read - Thousands Evacuated in New Zealand After 8.1 Earthquake Triggers Tsunami Warning
Thousands had fled their homes to seek safety when the quake hit just after 1am on Friday morning, damaging at least 60 homes, the agency said. Also Read - Powerful 7.1 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes New Zealand, Tsunami Alert Issued
The quake was felt strongly for about seven seconds but did not trigger a tsunami warning.
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 two 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 and injuring one person, said BNPB in a previous statement.
The earlier quake’s epicentre was 4km northwest of Majene, at a depth of 10km.
Residents fled their homes after strong ground movement for around three to four seconds, said the statement. There was also no tsunami warning for the earlier quake.
BNPB 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 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.
(With inputs from agencies)