Death toll in east Indonesia quake rises to 30, many still in shelters

Death toll in east Indonesia quake rises to 30, many still in shelters

Ruins and damaged building are pictured nearly one year after an earthquake and tsunami at a beach
Ruins and damaged building are pictured nearly one year after an earthquake and tsunami at a beach in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia on Sep 26, 2019 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. (Photo: Antara Foto/Oscar Motuloh via Reuters) 

JAKARTA: The death toll from a strong earthquake in Indonesia's eastern province of Maluku has risen to 30 people, the national disaster mitigation agency (BNBP) said on Sunday (Sep 29) and hundreds of thousands of people remain in evacuation shelters.

The 6.5-magnitude quake hit early on Thursday, damaging hundreds of houses and dozens of public facilities and infrastructure, including the main bridge in the city of Ambon.

The quake struck about 37 kilometres (23 miles) northeast of Ambon in Maluku province
The quake struck about 37 km northeast of Ambon in Maluku province (Photo: AFP/Handout)

Officials on Thursday had put the death toll at 20 people. Many were killed by falling rubble.

More than 150 people were injured, BNBP spokesman Agus Wibowo said in a statement on Sunday, and over 200,000 remain in shelters.

Those whose houses were destroyed have set up tents as shelters in near hospitals or school yards.

People living near the ocean have evacuated to higher ground following the quake, fearing a tsunami, despite authorities have ruled out the possibility of a giant wave.

Indonesia, which sits on the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire, is often hit by deadly earthquakes and tsunamis.

The city of Palu, on the island of Sulawesi west of Maluku, was devastated by a 7.5-magnitude earthquake and a powerful tsunami it triggered last September, killing more than 4,000 people.

Source: Reuters/ad

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