At least 97 dead in Indonesia earthquake: military

December 8, 2016 at 6:06 am

MEUREUDU: The death toll from a powerful earthquake that struck western Indonesia Wednesday has nearly doubled to 97, the military said, as more bodies were pulled from the rubble of scores of shattered buildings.

The shallow 6.5-magnitude quake struck Pidie Jaya district in Aceh province at dawn as many in the mainly Muslim region on Sumatra island were preparing for morning prayers.

The death toll has steadily climbed as rescue crews search, often by hand, through the homes, mosques and shops reduced to ruins.

The earlier figure of 52 dead was revised up significantly by the Indonesian military, which has taken over responsibility for the search and rescue operation.

“So far 97 people have been killed and the number keeps growing,” Aceh military chief Tatang Sulaiman told AFP.

“When we retrieve bodies sometimes there´s five, sometimes 10 corpses.”

More than 1,000 soldiers and about 900 police have been deployed to the worst-hit areas to set up shelters and evacuation points, he added.

Hundreds of houses and shops had been levelled by the quake, leaving countless people homeless and in need of basic supplies like food and water, officials said.

“The electricity is still off. Some places have generators, but there are not many,” local disaster agency head Puteh Manaf told AFP.

“If it rains there will be disease.”

´Everything was destroyed´

The sole hospital in Pidie Jaya was quickly overwhelmed, with patients treated on the grass out front or sent to neighbouring districts with better facilities.

The district health office chief Said Abdullah said nearly 200 injured had arrived since the quake, but many would not enter the hospital for fear of aftershocks.

“We are treating people outside. We took the beds out because nobody is daring enter the hospital,” he told AFP.

Another regional hospital had suffered serious damage in the quake, along with schools and other key infrastructure, a national disaster agency spokesman said.

In the hard-hit town of Meureudu, terrified residents rushed outside as their homes buckled and crumbled.

“Everything was destroyed,” said Hasbi Jaya, who pulled his two children unconscious from the rubble of their home.

“It was pitch black because the electricity was out. I looked around and all my neighbours´ homes were completely flattened.”

An AFP correspondent said dazed residents were wandering debris-strewn streets, unable to return to their damaged homes in fear of aftershocks.

Some fled to higher ground for fear of a tsunami although no alert was issued.

A huge undersea earthquake in 2004 triggered a tsunami that engulfed parts of Aceh and other countries around the Indian Ocean, killing more than 170,000 people in Indonesia alone.

Indonesian seismologists said the latest earthquake was felt across much of Aceh province, with many aftershocks following the initial tremor.

The US Geological Survey upgraded the magnitude to 6.5 from an initial reading of 6.4 and issued a yellow alert for expected fatalities and damage.

Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide.

Aceh lies on the northern tip of Sumatra island, which is particularly prone to quakes.

In June a 6.5-magnitude quake struck off the west of Sumatra, damaging scores of buildings and injuring eight people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent News

Pakistan celebrates 71 years o
ISLAMABAD: The nation celebrated 71st Independence Day today (Tuesday) with traditional fervour and enthusiasm. All major public and private buildings, roads and avenues were decorated with illumin...
August 14, 2018 Read More
President, caretaker PM felici
ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain and caretaker Prime Minister Justice (retd) Nasir-ul-Mulk extended heartiest felicitations to all Pakistanis on the occasion of Independence Day. President Mamn...
August 14, 2018 Read More
Imran Khan felicitates Nation
Islamabad : Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan on Tuesday felicitated the nation on Independence Day as he vowed to realise Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal’s visio
August 14, 2018 Read More
shehbaz demands probe into rig
LAHORE (APP) - Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif Tuesday stressed the need for forging unity among the ranks of nation by setting aside differences in the larger interest o...
August 14, 2018 Read More
Sindh Governor-designate Imran
KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and Sindh governor-designate, Imran Ismail on Tuesday claimed that he was denied entry to Mazar-e-Quaid, where he had to offer Fateha. The PTI leader ...
August 14, 2018 Read More
Nawaz, Maryam arrested at Laho
ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, were arrested Friday night upon their arrival in Lahore, a week after being sentenced to prison in the Avenfield Pr...
July 14, 2018 Read More
ICT development vital for coun
ISLAMABAD, Jul 13 (APP):Prime Minister Justice (Retd) Nasir-ul-Mulk Fridays while inaugurating the Pak-China Optical Fiber Cable project said that the development of information and communication tech...
July 14, 2018 Read More
128 dead 150 injured in Mastun
At least 128 people, including politician Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, were killed and more than 200 injured in a deadly suicide blast in Balochistan's Mastung district on Friday afternoon, Balochistan Ho...
July 14, 2018 Read More