Strong shallow quake kills several, injures hundreds in Sulawesi

Jakarta: A 6.2-magnitude earthquake on Indonesia's Sulawesi island has killed at least seven people and injured hundreds the country's disaster mitigation agency said, as panicked residents fled to safer areas after many buildings were damaged.

Initial information from the country's disaster mitigation agency showed that four people had died and 637 others were injured in Majene, while there were three more fatalities and two dozen injured in the neighbouring province of Mamuju.

Residents inspect earthquake-damaged buildings in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia, on Friday.Credit:AP

The epicentre of the quake was 6 kilometres north-east of Majene city at a depth of 10 kilometres.

Thousands had fled their homes to seek safety when the quake hit just after 1am local time on Friday, damaging at least 60 homes, the agency said. Hours earlier on Thursday, a 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck in the same district damaging several houses.

The Friday inland and shallow quake was felt strongly for about seven seconds, causing people to panic in parts of the island and run to higher ground but did not trigger a tsunami warning.

Videos on social media showed residents fleeing to higher ground on motorcycles, and a child trapped under the rubble as people tried to remove debris with their bare hands.

Residents inspect earthquake-damaged houses in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, on Friday.Credit:AP

Some buildings were badly damaged, including two hotels, the governor's office and a shopping centre, Sudirman Samual, a journalist based in Mamuju, north of the epicentre, said.

At least one route into Mamuju had been cut off, he said, due to damage to a bridge.

Indonesia's disaster agency said a series of quakes in the past 24 hours had caused at least three landslides, and the electricity supply had been cut.

Straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia, a nation of high tectonic activity, 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 of people.


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