More than 20 people have been killed and many are feared trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings after a powerful 6.5 earthquake struck off Aceh province on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, according to officials.
A press officer at the provincial disaster agency said that more than 20 were killed, according to Xinhua news agency.
The Vice Regent of Pidie Jaya, Said Mulyadi, told MetroTV news that there may be as many as 20 dead and 40 injured.
The Red Cross put the number of fatalities at 20.
At least 30 earthquake victims, most of them suffering from fractures caused by falling buildings, are being treated in hospitals at Pidie Jaya, the Volunteer Center of Communication (Senkom) said.
The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) confirmed that “several buildings” collapsed, including at least 10 shops and four houses in Pidie Jaya, which lies in the Aceh special region of Indonesia. Electric poles and a mosque in Bireuen district were also damaged, BNPB said.
The shallow 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck at 5:03am local time. It was centered about 10 kilometers north of Reuleut in northern Aceh, at a depth of 17.2 kilometers, the US Geological Survey said. At least five aftershocks followed the quake, according to the local head of the Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics.
“The earthquake was felt strongly and many people panicked and rushed outdoors as houses collapsed,” Sutopo Nugroho of the national disaster management agency (BNPB) said in a statement cited by Reuters.