Aftershock rocks Indonesia quake zone as search continues

Aftershock rocks Indonesia quake zone as search continues

An aerial picture shows damaged governor of West Sulawesi province's office following an earth
An aerial picture shows damaged governor of West Sulawesi province's office following an earthquake in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia, on Jan 15, 2021. (Photo: Antara Foto/Sigid Kurniawan/ via Reuters)

JAKARTA: An aftershock hit Indonesia's Sulawesi island on Saturday (Jan 16) as rescue workers searched for people trapped under rubble after an earthquake killed at least 45 people, injured hundreds and sent thousands fleeing.

Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency said no damage or casualties were reported from the 5.0-magnitude aftershock in the West Sulawesi districts of Mamuju and Majene a day after the 6.2-magnitude earthquake.

Agency head Doni Monardo told Kompas TV the search continued for victims who could still be trapped under rubble.

READ: At least 42 killed after strong quake rocks Indonesia's Sulawesi

More than 820 people were injured and about 15,000 people have been evacuated, the agency said. Some have sought refuge in the mountains, while others went to cramped evacuation centres, witnesses said.

Residents inspect earthquake-damaged buildings in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia (2)
Residents inspect earthquake-damaged houses in Mamuju, West Sulawesi on Jan 15, 2021 after a strong inland and shallow earthquake hit eastern Indonesia. (AP Photo/Rudy Akdyaksyah)

Friday's quake and its aftershocks damaged more than 300 homes and two hotels, as well as flattening a hospital and the office of a regional governor, where authorities told Reuters several people had been trapped.

Access to the neighbouring city of Makassar remains cut off, Arianto Ardi of the search and rescue agency in Mamuju told Reuters, adding that the search will focus on the hotels.

Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency, told Metro TV on Saturday that another quake was possible and could reach a magnitude of 7.0, urging residents to keep out of the water because of the tsunami risk.

Indonesia Earthquake
Residents inspect earthquake-damaged houses in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. A strong inland and shallow earthquake hit eastern Indonesia early Friday causing people to panic in parts of the country's Sulawesi island and run to higher ground. (AP Photo/Rudy Akdyaksyah)

The earthquake magnitude scale is logarithmic: A one-point increase means it is 10 times bigger, and the difference in energy released is even greater. Straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia is regularly hit by earthquakes.

In 2018, a devastating 6.2-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami struck the city of Palu, in Sulawesi, killing thousands.

Source: Reuters/mi

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