World

Seven people dead, dozens more injured in Indonesian earthquake

Seven people died and dozens more were injured when a 6.2-magnitude earthquake rocked the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Friday, with residents shuttling loved ones to safety as buildings crumbled around them.

The quake came just minutes after small tremor, as residents had frantically begun evacuating their houses. “We all fled our home (after the first quake),” Yudi Prama Agustino, 36, told AFP. “I have a one-year-old baby, so in panic, I pushed the stroller out of the house.”

The quake hit the island’s north at a depth of 12 kilometres, about 70 kilometres from the town of Bukittinggi in West Sumatra province, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Agustino’s hometown in Agam district is another 40km from Bukittinggi.

“I noticed there was an earthquake because my kids’ toys fell over. I panicked because my in-laws were also in the house and they are quite old and sick,” Agustino said of the first tremor that was recorded at 5.0 by the USGS. “Once we were outside, a much stronger 6.2 quake happened and everybody panicked,” he added.

Seven people died and 85 were injured in West Pasaman and Pasaman according to Abdul Muhari, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).  At least 5,000 people in the two districts have been evacuated.

The quake was felt in the neighbouring provinces of Riau and North Sumatra and as far away as Malaysia and Singapore. No tsunami warning has been issued at this stage.

Alim Bazar, who is head of Pasaman’s disaster mitigation agency, told AFP some buildings suffered cracks. “The mayor called and ordered that all second and third floors in every building should be vacated,” he said.

Irpanda, a resident of Pasaman, told Metro TV he felt both the first and second tremors. “At first, the quake only lasted for a few seconds. People fled their homes and buildings nearby were swaying,” he said. “But then another quake happened and it was so strong. More people fled their houses,” he said, adding patients at a local hospital were also moved outside.

Tremors were also felt in Singapore, witnesses and police said. “Earth tremors were … felt in certain parts of Singapore at about 9.45am,” the police said in a statement. The police and emergency services “have received several calls from the public reporting these tremors,” they added.

One Singapore resident told AFP he felt a slight shake at home that left him dizzy, while state broadcaster CNA showed a video of ceiling lamps swaying in a high-rise apartment. Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” causing it to experience frequent earthquakes.

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: USA TODAY

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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