December 8, 2016

Aceh: Devastating Earthquake Strikes Region, Killing More Than 100 People

Photo Courtesy of The New York Times

A devastating earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.5, struck Aceh early Wednesday morning [7 December 2016], killing more than 100 people. The National Agency for Disaster Management has claimed that more than 500 people got injured. Five serious aftershocks have been felt, and numerous homes, buildings and mosques have collapsed. Several Indonesian and international aid agencies are sending teams to the region to assist the rescue efforts. Aceh is a notoriously seismic region, which had been previously devastated by the giant tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, In 2004, 230,000 people had been killed in the various impacted countries, 170,000 of them in the Aceh province alone.

 

Below is an article published by The New York Times:

More than 100 people were killed early Wednesday [7 December 2016] and more were feared dead after a powerful earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Sumatra, with many of the victims crushed to death in their homes as they slept.

The earthquake, which shook Sumatra’s northernmost province, Aceh, had a preliminary magnitude of 6.5, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency said that the temblor, which struck after 5 a.m. at a depth of about six miles, was centered in Pidie Jaya, a region on Aceh’s east coast, adjacent to the Strait of Malacca.

In Pidie Jaya, men carried the body of a young earthquake victim.

Connie Magdalena, a duty officer at the National Search and Rescue Agency’s headquarters in Jakarta, the capital, said on Thursday [8 December 2016] that at least 102 people had been killed. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Agency for Disaster Management, said earlier that more than 500 people had been injured, 125 of them seriously.

“But we are still doing search and rescue operations,” Ms. Magdalena said. “The communications with our teams in the field remains very bad, but they are still searching.”

The rescue teams were scouring rubble across Pidie Jaya, about 70 miles southeast of the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, looking for survivors and victims.

“Our rescue teams in the field are also evacuating the injured,” Ms. Magdalena said.

Mr. Sutopo said that panicked residents in Pidie Jaya had run for their lives from homes and other buildings. At least five aftershocks were felt after the quake, he said.

“Numerous homes and buildings collapsed, shop houses collapsed,” he said.

Mr. Sutopo said that more than 160 homes and more than 100 buildings, including 14 mosques and a school, were damaged.

Medical teams were transferring some survivors to the town of Sigli, the capital of the neighboring region of Pidie, because of overcrowding at hospitals in Pidie Jaya, The Jakarta Post reported.

In Sigli, survivors were seen being treated at a hospital.

Both Indonesian and international aid organizations were sending teams to Aceh to assist in the disaster. As rescue and relief operations continued, another earthquake, with a magnitude of 5, struck nearby late Wednesday. No injuries or damage were immediately reported.

Aceh was devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that was caused by a giant earthquake off its western coast. The disaster killed 230,000 in more than a dozen countries, 170,000 of them in Aceh Province alone.