JAKARTA (INDONESIA) – The earthquake that hit Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday has killed at least 35 people and injured hundreds. Authorities have warned of more quakes that could trigger a tsunami.
Residents fled their homes for higher ground when the quake of 6.2 magnitude struck 6 km (3.73 miles) northeast of the town of Majene, at a depth of just 10 km, shortly before 1.30 a.m.
Initial information from the national disaster mitigation agency showed 637 injured in Majene, and two dozen in Mamuju.
No tsunami warning was issued but the head of Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), Dwikorita Karnawati, told a news conference that aftershocks could follow, with a possibility that another powerful quake could trigger a tsunami.
President Joko Widodo offered condolences to the victims in a video statement, urging people to stay calm and authorities to step up search efforts.
Key tasks for officials are restoring telecoms and bridge links and ensuring delivery of tents, food and medical supplies, said West Sulawesi provincial government spokesman Safaruddin.
There had been at least 26 aftershocks, she said, with Friday’s quake preceded by a quake of 5.9 magnitude the previous day.
“It is certainly one of the most challenging, this (disaster) was one of our fears and now we are putting all of that planning and protocols into place,” said Jan Gelfand, head of the International Federation of Red Cross in Indonesia.