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Midnight quake kills 42 in Indonesia

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More than 600 people were injured by the magnitude 6.2 quake, which sent people fleeing their homes in the darkness on Friday. Authorities were still collecting information about the full scale of casualties and damage in the affected areas.

AP, Mamuju

PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 08:54 AM IST

A strong, shallow earthquake shook Indonesia’s Sulawesi island just after midnight, toppling homes and buildings, triggering landslides and killing at least 42 people.

More than 600 people were injured by the magnitude 6.2 quake, which sent people fleeing their homes in the darkness on Friday. Authorities were still collecting information about the full scale of casualties and damage in the affected areas.

There were reports of many people trapped in the rubble of collapsed homes and buildings.

In a video released by the national disaster agency, a girl stuck in the wreckage of a house cried out for help and said she heard the sound of other family members also trapped. “Please help me, it hurts,” the girl told rescuers, who replied that they desperately wanted to help her.

The rescuers said an excavator was needed to save the girl and others trapped in collapsed buildings. Other images showed a severed bridge and damaged and flattened houses.

The quake damaged a hospital and patients were moved to an emergency tent. Rescuers struggled to extract seven patients and staff who were trapped under rubble. After several hours, an excavator came to help and the rescuers retrieved four survivors and three bodies.

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Another video showed a father crying, asking for help to save his children buried under their toppled house. “They are trapped inside, please help,” he cried. Thousands of people were evacuated to temporary shelters.

The quake was centred 36km south of West Sulawesi’s Mamuju district, at a depth of 18km. The disaster agency said the death toll climbed to 42 as rescuers in Mamuju retrieved 34 bodies trapped in the rubble of collapsed homes and buildings.

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