THE 6.5-magnitude earthquake that rattled the northern province of Aceh on Wednesday has claimed the lives of 52 people so far, while scores of others are said to be injured, according to reports.
A Reuters’ report citing information from national disaster management agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho says the number of casualties will likely rise and that more than 70 people have sustained serious injuries
Earlier reports said more than 20 were killed in the quake that felled buildings.
Search and rescue workers are still racing to clear the rubble using heavy machinery after dozens of buildings collapsed in the district.
Images of the quake on social media showed buildings reduced to rubble and fallen electricity poles, as people stand around inspecting the damage.
“The earthquake was felt strongly and many people panicked and rushed outdoors as houses collapsed,” Sutopo told Reuters in a statement earlier.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake that struck at 5:03am Wednesday was centred about 10km (6 miles) north off Reuleut, a town in northern Aceh, at a depth of 17km (11 miles).
A volunteer for the Indonesian Red Crescent in Pidie Jaya told Indonesia’s TV One, there “isn’t enough medical staff around” to treat those injured.
The region suffered massive destruction in 2004 when a quake of magnitude 9.2 triggered a tsunami that wiped out entire communities in Indonesia and other countries around the Indian Ocean.
Indonesia was the hardest hit, with more than 120,000 people killed in Aceh alone.
Reports compiled from Reuters and Associated Press