BANDA ACEH, Indonesia – A strong, shallow earthquake rocked parts of western Indonesia early today, killing a 9-year-old girl, panicking residents and ruining homes. Several other people were injured.
The magnitude-5.9 earthquake was centered southwest of the city of Banda Aceh and 10 miles beneath the Earth’s crust, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was too far inland to generate a tsunami.
The quake rattled people awake in towns and villages across the Sumatra island’s northern tip. A magnitude-4.7 aftershock quake followed.
Sarjani Abdullah, the district head of Pidie, said a 9-year-old girl was found dead in the ruins of her home. At least seven other people, including a 3-year-old, suffered cuts and broken bones.
Aceh province’s disaster mitigation agency said at least 30 houses and a mosque were ruined in Pidie Jaya district, and hundreds of people were moved to temporary shelters as authorities surveyed the extent of the damage.
Some electricity poles were knocked down in Tangse village.
“It’s scared us. … We are still traumatized by the earthquake. My wife was screaming, my children crying,” said Masriadi, a Tangse resident.
Fearing aftershocks, many people refused to go back inside for hours.
Indonesia straddles a series of fault lines that make the vast archipelago prone to volcanic and seismic activity.