Mamuju (Indonesia): Indonesian rescuers Sunday retrieved more bodies from the rubble of homes and buildings toppled by a strong earthquake, raising the death toll to 82. Meanwhile military engineers managed to reopen ruptured roads to clear access for relief goods. More heavy equipment reached this city which is the hardest-hit and the neighbouring district of Majene on Sulawesi island. The 6.2 magnitude quake hit early Friday in these two places, said Raditya Jati, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency’s spokesperson. A total of 73 people died here and nine in the neighbouring district of Majene.
Power supplies and phone communications have also began to improve.
Thousands were left homeless and more than 800 have been injured in the quake. More than half of the injured are still receiving treatment for serious injuries, Jati said. So the toll may rise.
The disaster agency’s data showed nearly 27,850 survivors were moved to shelters. Most of them went to makeshift shelters that have been lashed by heavy monsoon downpours. Only a few were lucky to have tarpaulin-covered tents. They said they were running low on food, blankets and other aid, as emergency supplies were rushed to the hard-hit region.
“We are unable to return to our destroyed homes,” said a father of three who identified himself only as Robert. He said he fled from his bed while being treated at Mamujus Mitra Manakarra hospital, which was flattened by the quake. He and his family are among thousands of displaced people who took shelter in a hilly area.
Jati said that at least 1,150 houses in Majene were damaged and that the agency was still collecting data on damaged houses and buildings in Mamuju.
Indonesia, home to more than 260 million people, is frequently hit by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the ‘Ring of Fire’, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.
A massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra island in western Indonesia in December 2004 triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.