Indonesia — Deadly Earthquake with Forty Two Killed and Hundreds Injured

  • About 300 buildings have collapsed. A hospital, where there were at least a dozen people, has collapsed, as well as a hotel and the regional governor's office.
  • Rescue teams are scrambling to find survivors under the remnants of the disaster.
  • The head of the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology and Geophysics, Dwikorita Karnawati. Karnawati has also warned of the possibility of a tsunami.

At least 42 people have died and several hundred others have been injured after an earthquake of magnitude 6.2 on the Richter scale that occurred during the early hours of this Friday on the island of Sulawesi in the central region of the Indonesian archipelago. The earthquake occurred at 1:30 in the morning, local time, a few kilometers from the city of Madjene.

People look at the damaged province’s office of governor of West Sulawesi following an earthquake in Mamuju, West Sulawesi province, Indonesia, January 15, 2021.

The main earthquake caught the inhabitants sleeping and as a result, has caused extensive damage to several towns in the area with the collapse of buildings and the collapse of bridges, in addition to the displacement of some 15,000 people.

Most of the victims of the tragedy are from the cities of Madjene and Mamuju, both with more than 100,000 inhabitants, according to the director of the disaster management agency.

The earthquake has also caused the power supply to be cut off and communications to fall, as well as at least three landslides blocking roads, as well as the rupture of a bridge that hinders rescue and aid distribution tasks.

About 300 buildings have collapsed. A hospital, where there were at least a dozen people, has collapsed, as well as a hotel and the regional governor’s office. Rescue teams are scrambling to find survivors under the remnants of the disaster. 

The country’s president, Joko Widodo, has expressed his condolences for the “loss of life.”  “I, on behalf of the Government and all Indonesian people, would like to express my deep condolences to families of the victims,” Widodo said.

The Indonesian president has also stated that he has contacted the local authorities and has urged the different government agencies to respond immediately to the emergency and advised residents to stay away from buildings and beaches.

The strong earthquake, which lasted between 5 and 7 seconds, has also caused at least three landslides that hinder rescue and aid distribution efforts.

Aftershocks and Tsunami Warning 

Rescuers look for survivors trapped in a collapsed building in Mamuju, the capital of Sulawesi, after the overnight quake.

At the moment there have been 26 aftershocks, as announced by the head of the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology and Geophysics, Dwikorita Karnawati. Karnawati has also warned of the possibility of a tsunami, the main reason that more than 15,000 people have been evacuated from the area. 

The emergency is complicated by the coronavirus. “It is certainly one of the most difficult situations, this disaster was one of our fears and now we are applying all the plans and protocols,” explained Jan Gelfand, head of the International Red Cross in Indonesia. 

In September 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake shook the island, causing a tsunami that caused more than 2,000 deaths and 200,000 displaced people in the towns of Palu and Donggala.

Indonesia sits on the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire” , an area of ​​great seismic and volcanic activity in which about 7,000 earthquakes are recorded each year, most of them moderate. 

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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