Homes, Mosques, Shops Reduced to Ruins
A powerful earthquake rattled Indonesia’s Aceh province, killing at least 97 and injuring more than two hundred people.
A report in The Guardian says the 6.5-magnitude quake hit just north of the small town of Reuleuet, at 5am local time (10pm GMT on Tuesday).
Authorities said more are feared trapped in collapsed buildings.
The disaster left a trail of massive destruction. Images on television and social media showed the shattered buildings, cracked roads and downed electricity poles.
Aceh lies on the northern tip of Sumatra island, which is particularly prone to quakes.
Search and Rescue Operations are Underway
Hoping to search for more survivors, the Indonesian government hastened search and rescue operations by sending more medical personal to the region.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered immediate assistance to be sent to Aceh on Wednesday in the wake of the earthquake.
More than 1,000 soldiers and about 900 police have been deployed to the worst-hit areas to set up shelters and evacuation points.
In addition, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) offered assistance by deploying two staff to the disaster-hit province in Aceh.
Peter Kern, the IOM disaster preparedness project manager, said, “They’ll be our eyes and ears on the ground and be able to give us a much clearer picture of what the needs are.”
Earthquakes Common in Indonesia
Earthquakes are not something new in Indonesia. The Muslim nation sits on the infamous Ring of Fire, a set of fault lines which circle the Pacific Basin, making it more prone to quakes.
Wednesday’s quake was the second for this year. In March, a magnitude-7.8 quake hit the south-western coast of Sumatra, but no tsunamis or deaths were registered as a result.
However, the 2004 disaster was considered to be one of the deadliest. The deadly earthquake killed more than 80,000 people after a tsunami swept across the Indonesian region, leaving millions homeless.