Jakarta, Indonesia (AP) – A powerful, shallow earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi just after midnight, causing landslides and prompting people to flee their homes in the night dark. At least three people were killed and 24 others were injured, but Indonesian officials said they were still gathering information from the affected areas.
In a video released by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, a girl trapped under the rubble of a house screamed for help and said her mother was still alive but unable to leave. “Please help me,” the girl told rescuers, who responded that they desperately wanted to help her.
Rescuers said in the video that an excavator was needed to rescue them. Other images in the video showed a severed bridge and destroyed and even ruined homes. TV stations reported that the earthquake destroyed part of the hospital and patients were taken to an emergency tent outside.
Another video showed a father crying hopelessly, asking people for help to save his children buried under tons of rubble from his home. “My kids are there … are trapped inside, please help,” he shouted in panic.
About 2,000 displaced people were evacuated to several makeshift shelters. The US Geological Survey said the 6.2-magnitude quake early on Friday had its epicenter 36 km south of Mamuju in West Sulawesi province, at a depth of 18 km.
At least 62 homes, a public health center, and military offices were damaged in Mamuju, landslides occurred in three locations and closed a main road linking Mamuju with Majin district, said Raditiya Jati, a spokeswoman for the disaster agency. He said the agency was still collecting data from the quake-hit areas.
On Thursday, an earthquake measuring 5.9 degrees below sea level struck the same area, damaging many homes but apparently causing no injuries.
Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 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.