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Quake sets off landslides, kills at least 3 in Indonesia

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 14, 2021

By Niniek Karmini Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A strong, shallow earthquake shook Indonesia’s Sulawesi island just after midnight, causing landslides and sending people fleeing from their homes in the nighttime darkness. At least three people had died and 24 were injured, but Indonesian officials said they were still collecting information from devastated areas.

In a video released by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, a girl trapped in the wreckage of a house cried out for help and said her mother was alive but unable to move out. “Please help me, it’s hurt,” the girl told rescuers, who replied that they desperately wanted to help her.

In the video, the rescuers said an excavator was needed to save them. Other images in the video showed a severed bridge and damaged and even flattened houses. TV stations reported the earthquake damaged part of a hospital and patients were moved to an emergency tent outside.

Another video showed a father cried hopeless, asking help from people to save his children buried under tons of his house rubble. “My children there… they are trapped inside, please help,” he cried in panic.

About 2,000 displaced people were evacuated to several temporary shelters. The magnitude 6.2 quake early Friday was centered 22 miles) south of West Sulawesi province’s Mamuju district, at a depth of 18 kilometers (11 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

At least 62 houses, a public health center and a military office were damaged in Mamuju and landslides were set off in three locations and blocked a main road connecting Mamuju to the Majene district, said Raditya Jati, the disaster agency’s spokesperson. He said the agency is still collecting data from areas struck by the quake.

On Thursday, a magnitude 5.9 quake hit under the sea in the same region, damaging several homes but causing no apparent casualties.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 260 million people, is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

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