At least 37 killed, hundreds injured as strong quake jolts Indonesia's Sulawesi (update)

Rescuers search for survivors at the ruin of a local government building collapsed during an earthquake in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. A strong, shallow earthquake shook Indonesia's Sulawesi island just after midnight Friday, toppling homes and buildings, triggering landslides and killing a number of people. - AP

JAKARTA, Jan 15 (Xinhua): The death toll of Indonesia's 6.2-magnitude quake that hit West Sulawesi province early Friday rose to 37 with hundreds of people wounded, an official and two top rescuers said.

More than 10,000 people were forced to evacuate as the quake destroyed houses, office buildings, hotels, hospitals and shopping malls in Mamuju city and Majene district, the National Search and Rescue Agency's Head Bagus Puruhito said.

A total of 29 bodies have been retrieved in Mamuju city, while the search and rescue operation for the victims persists, said Operation Head of the Search and Rescue Office in South Sulawesi Province Muhammad Rizal whose four teams of rescuers are being involved in the evacuation process.

With eight people dead in Majene district as reported by the National Disaster Management Agency, the death toll climbed to 37.

"Our personnel in the scene reported that more bodies were found in Mamuju," he told Xinhua.

For Majene district, the rescuer said that he only got a report about the number of injured persons.

"A total of 189 people suffered serious wounds and 214 others got minor injuries in Majene district, still the figures about the wounded persons in Mamuju city have not been reached yet," said Rizal.

More units of heavy machinery equipment are badly needed to remove the rubbles, according to him.

Meanwhile, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency's Head Dwikorita Karnawati on Friday warned of the possibility of another strong quake and a tsunami.

"The structures of the materials and rocks under the earth are unstable or weak after 28 times of tremors, and these may cause an underwater landslide and trigger a tsunami," Karnawati said.

She said that people should immediately stay away from the coast when another strong quake takes place as a tsunami may hit within two to three minutes after the quake. - Xinhua
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