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34 dead, thousands evacuated after 6.2 magnitude earthquake hits Indonesia’s Sulawesi

More than 600 people were injured in the quake that damaged a hotel, the governor’s office, hundreds of houses and a local health facility.

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Jakarta: At least 34 people were killed and thousands evacuated after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia’s West Sulawesi in the early hours Friday, according to the national disaster mitigation management.

More than 600 people were injured from the quake that damaged a hotel, the governor’s office, hundreds of houses and a local health facility, the agency known as BNPB said in a statement. About 15,000 people were relocated to 15 locations. It also caused power blackout, disrupted mobile phone networks and cut off road access.

The island of Sulawesi accounts for more than 6% of the country’s gross domestic product, with West Sulawesi’s economy mainly driven by agriculture.

Indonesia’s 18,000 islands sit along the Pacific Ocean’s “ring of fire” zone of active volcanoes and tectonic faults, making it prone to earthquakes. The tremor rocked West Sulawesi at 1:28 a.m. Jakarta time on Friday, with the epicenter located 6 kilometers from the coast at a depth of 10 kilometers. It didn’t generate a tsunami.

“Residents are still advised to stay away from buildings and beaches” for fear of collapse and a tsunami could still occur in possible aftershocks, Dwikorita Karnawati, Indonesia’s head of Meteorological, Climatological, and Geophysical Agency said in a briefing.

President Joko Widodo called citizens to remain calm and has ordered authorities to take emergency responses in order to find and evacuate the victims.

Indonesia’s state energy holding company PT Pertamina said there’s no meaningful damage to its fuel distribution and facilities. As many as 872 electricity distributon points were affected by the quake with half of them restored, state power firm PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara said in a statement. Nearby airports are running normally despite minor damage to one of them, according to the transport ministry.- Bloomberg

Also read: Indonesia approves China’s Sinovac Covid vaccine for emergency use

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