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Indonesia Earthquake Death Toll Rises

  • VOA News

A man removes a box of food from under the rubble of a building that collapsed after an earthquake in Pidie Jaya, Aceh province, Indonesia, Dec. 7, 2016.

The death toll continues to rise from a strong earthquake that struck Indonesia early Wednesday.

Local officials said at least 97 people were dead and hundreds more injured in Pidie Jaya, the district closest to the quake's epicenter, on the northern end of Indonesia's Sumatra island. The town of Meureudu was among the hardest hit areas.

Earthquake epicenter, near Reuleut, Sumatra, Indonesia
Earthquake epicenter, near Reuleut, Sumatra, Indonesia

The shaking brought down dozens of buildings, including mosques, stores and homes. Rescue crews, some of them working with heavy equipment, were searching through rubble for people who may be trapped underneath.

"The earthquake was felt strongly and many people panicked and rushed outdoors as houses collapsed," Sutopo Nugroho of the country's national disaster management agency said in a statement.

Family members gather around the bodies of earthquake victims in Pidie Jaya, Aceh province, Indonesia, Dec. 7, 2016.
Family members gather around the bodies of earthquake victims in Pidie Jaya, Aceh province, Indonesia, Dec. 7, 2016.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.5 quake was centered near the town of Reuleut. Indonesia's Climate, Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said the earthquake did not generate a tsunami.

Indonesia is located in an area of the world prone to earthquakes. A 2004 quake off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 in Indonesia and other countries.

People survey the damage after dozens of buildings collapsed following an earthquake in Ule Glee, Pidie Jaya in the northern province of Aceh, Indonesia, Dec. 7, 2016.
People survey the damage after dozens of buildings collapsed following an earthquake in Ule Glee, Pidie Jaya in the northern province of Aceh, Indonesia, Dec. 7, 2016.

The threat of a repeat of that disaster was on the minds of some of those who felt Wednesday's earthquake.

"It was very bad, the tremors felt even stronger than 2004 earthquake," Musman Aziz, a Meureudu resident, told the Associated Press.

Hospital workers and family members carry a woman injured in an earthquake at a hospital in Pidie, Aceh province, Indonesia, Dec. 7, 2016.
Hospital workers and family members carry a woman injured in an earthquake at a hospital in Pidie, Aceh province, Indonesia, Dec. 7, 2016.

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