Jakarta – At least 92 people were killed and hundreds injured Wednesday after an earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale hit Indonesia’s Aceh province, officials said.
Television footage showed flattened houses and buildings, including shops and mosques in the worst-affected districts of Pidie Jaya and Pidie. Roads were cracked with gaping fissures.
The death toll rose to 92 on Wednesday afternoon after more bodies were found, Aceh military commander Major General Tatang Sulaiman told dpa by phone.
Nearly 300 were injured, at least 73 seriously, said national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho.
At least 125 homes, 105 shops and 14 mosques were destroyed, he said.
Images from Pidie Jaya showed injured victims being treated outside the main hospital there.
There are also fears that many people were still trapped in collapsed buildings, added Suyitno, the head of the search and rescue agency in Aceh.
“Many shop owners live in their two-storey shops that have collapsed,” he said. “We have sent three excavators to lift heavy concrete from collapsed buildings.”
The quake struck at 5.03 am (2203 GMT Tuesday) with the epicentre 18 kilometres north-east of Pidie Jaya, at a depth of 10 kilometres, the national geophysics agency said.
No tsunami warning was issued.
Many residents had woken up to perform morning prayers when the quake struck.
“I was so panicked and afraid I’m still shaking,” said Amanda, a doctor in Banda Aceh.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area noted for frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
A magnitude-9.1 earthquake off Sumatra island on December 26, 2004, spawned the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 230,000 people in 11 countries, including about 180,000 in Aceh alone.