Tuesday afternoon, a magnitude 6.1 earthquake shook the Sumatra island, Banda Aceh, in Indonesia. So far, authorities have determined at least 29 people have been killed and hundreds have been injured.
Police, soldiers and volunteers are searching the tremor-damaged area on Wednesday looking for victims and survivors in the rubble. They are searching amidst the wreckage of landslides and fallen and destroyed homes.
The epicenter of the 6.1 trembler was 6 miles (10 kilometers) below the earth’s surface on the island Aceh province, in the far western tip of Sumatra and struck on Tuesday afternoon.
According to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of the National Disaster Mitigation Agendyk in Bener Meriah district, twelve people were killed and at least 70 others were injured by a landslide or collapsing buildings. At least 25 of the injured have been hospitalized in intensive care.
The head of the local mitigation agency, Fauzi, stated that about approximately 600 buildings and houses were damaged in the district and residents were staying in tents outside of their homes. Fauzi, who uses a single name, like many Indonesians, asked for tents for his community, “What we need right now are tents, since many people prefer to stay outside,” he opined, “They all are afraid of aftershocks.” (weather.com)
Central Aceh district, which neighbors Bener Meriah, lost 17 residents in the quake; 350 others have sustained injuries, according to Subhan Sahara, head of the local mitigation agency.
The air force has been dispatched to the region to help with rescue efforts, according to Nugroho. In total, about 1,500 structures have been damaged or destroyed by the quake. The earthquake also caused landslides causing hundreds of people to be displaced from their homes. They have had to move into temporary shelters.
Rescue efforts for those who may be trapped under the rubble is continuing.
The area of Indonesia is prone to seismic activity and upheaval due to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Ocean.
“In 2004, a magnitude-9.1 earthquake off Aceh triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in 14 countries.” (weather.com)
The top 10 deadliest earthquakes in the last 25 years according to the US Geological Survey:
- India – September 29, 1983, magnitude 6.2, killed 9,748
- Turkey – August 17, 1999, magnitude 7.6, killed more than 17,000
- India – January 26, 2001, magnitude 7.7, killed 20,023
- Japan – March 11, 2011, magnitude 9.0, killed 20, 896
- Southeastern Iran – December 26, 2003, magnitude 6.6, killed 31,000
- Iran – June 20, 1990, magnitude 7.4, killed 50,000
- Pakistan – October 8, 2005, magnitude 7.6, more than 80,000
- Eastern Sichuan, China – May 12, 2008, magnitude 7.9, approximately 87,500 killed
- Northern Sumatra – December 26, 2004, magnitude 9.1, killed 228,000
- Haiti – January 12, 2010, 316,000 dead. Decimated Haiti, by far the worst earthquake of the last 20 years
By Dawn Cranfield
US News Special Correspondent