At least 34 killed as quake rocks Indonesia

A powerful earthquake rocked Indonesia's Sulawesi island early Friday, killing at least 34 people, levelling a hospital and severely damaging other buildings, authorities said, AFP reports. 

Hundreds more were injured when the 6.2-magnitude quake struck in the early hours, triggering panic among the terrified residents of the island, which was hit by a huge quake and tsunami two and a half years ago that killed thousands.

"The latest information we have is that 26 people are dead... in Mamuju city," said Ali Rahman, head of the local disaster mitigation agency, adding "that number could grow".

"Many of the dead are buried under rubble," he said.

Separately, the national disaster agency said at least eight people had died in an area south of Mamuju, a city of some 110,000 in West Sulawesi province, bringing the total death toll to 34.

Rescuers were searching for more than a dozen patients and staff trapped beneath the rubble of the levelled Mamuju hospital.

The quake's epicentre was 36 kilometres (22 miles) south of Mamuju and it had a relatively shallow depth of 18 kilometres, the United States Geological Survey said.

Images supplied by the search-and-rescue agency showed rescue workers checking on two sisters who were trapped under rubble. It was not clear where they were trapped.

Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide.

In 2018, a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi left more than 4,300 people dead or missing.

On December 26, 2004, a 9.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including around 170,000 in Indonesia.

News.Az 

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