Death toll in Indonesian earthquake rises to 54

Earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale hits Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Ben Ariel,

Seismograph (illustration)
Seismograph (illustration)
Reuters

An earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale struck the northern end of the Indonesian island of Sumatra early Wednesday morning, killing at least 54 people and causing buildings to collapse.

The earthquake, which happened at about 5:03 a.m. local time on Wednesday, was centered near the village of Pante Raja, about 92 kilometers (57 miles) southeast of Banda Aceh, according to BNO News.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake had a shallow depth of just 8.2 kilometers (5 miles).

No tsunami warning was issued.

A number of buildings in Pidie Jaya Regency were reported to have collapsed, including mosques, houses and multiple stores in the town of Meureudu, according to BNO News. At least eight stores were also said to have collapsed in Lueng Putu, which is located in the same area.

Pidie Jaya Deputy Regent Said Mulyadi told a local news portal that a number of people remain trapped under the rubble and said rescue operations are ongoing. Heavy equipment is being brought in to help rescue people.

A police official told Indonesia's Antara news agency that about 30 people were being treated for injuries in Meureudu. Some of those injured, which includes children, were said to have been seriously injured from falling debris.

Indonesia is located on the so-called 'Pacific Ring of Fire', an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes.

In December 2004, a magnitude-9.1 earthquake, one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded, struck off the west coast of Sumatra, unleashing a massive tsunami that struck scores of countries in the region and killed 227,898 people.


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