Dozens injured as powerful quake hits Indonesia’s Aceh province

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 July, 2013, 12:38am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 July, 2013, 2:21am


A powerful earthquake in Indonesia's Aceh province flattened buildings and sparked landslides yesterday, killing at least 11 people and injuring dozens in a region devastated by the quake-triggered tsunami of 2004.

The 6.1-magnitude quake struck inland at a depth of just 10 kilometres in the mountainous Bener Meriah district in the heart of Aceh, the US Geological Survey said. It destroyed houses in the district, 320 kilometres from the provincial capital Banda Aceh, and triggered several landslides.

Six children were killed and 14 others trapped after a mosque collapsed during a Koran reading session, an official said.

"Our search and rescue are struggling to evacuate an estimated 14 children still trapped under the rubble," the head of the disaster management agency in central Aceh district, Subhan Sahara, said.

Our search and rescue are struggling to evacuate an estimated 14 children still trapped under the rubble

"I hope they can be found alive but the chances are very slim." In Suka Makmur village a landslide engulfed a coffee plantation, killing one man, said the official.

"A man was working at a coffee plantation with his wife when a landslide caused by the quake struck," he said. "His body was found under a pile of earth soon afterwards," he said.

Four other people died in hospitals in the district from injuries sustained in the quake, he said.

One of the fatalities was a child who died when a wall collapsed, Ema Suryani, a doctor at a hospital in Lampahan city, said.

"We have received around 50 people with injuries sustained when the walls of their houses collapsed," added the doctor.

"There are around 30 people seriously injured, some with head injuries."

About 40 houses were damaged by the quake, including some which were flattened, said disaster agency official Fauzi.

Most of the damaged houses were in the Wih Pesam area of the district, he added. People ran outside in panic in Banda Aceh as the quake shook houses and in Medan city to the south of the province on Sumatra island.