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Quake death toll at 56 as Indonesia struggles with string of disasters

Sunday, January 17, 2021, 10:00 GMT+7
Quake death toll at 56 as Indonesia struggles with string of disasters
Search and rescue personnel inspect a collapsed building following an earthquake in Mamuju, West Sulawesi province, Indonesia, January 16, 2021. Photo: Sigid Kurniawan/Antara Foto via Reuters

JAKARTA -- At least 56 people have been killed after an earthquake struck Indonesia’s West Sulawesi province on Friday, the disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) said on Sunday, the latest in a string of disasters to hit the Southeast Asian country.

More than 820 people were injured and about 15,000 left their homes after the 6.2 magnitude quake, the BNPB said. Some sought refuge in the mountains, while others went to cramped evacuation centres, witnesses said.

Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of Indonesia’s meteorological, climatology and geophysical agency (BMKG), has said that another quake in the region could potentially trigger a tsunami.

Straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia is regularly hit by earthquakes. In 2018, a devastating 6.2-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami struck the city of Palu, in Sulawesi, killing thousands.

Just two weeks into the new year, the world’s fourth-most populous country is again battling several disasters.

Floods in North Sulawesi and South Kalimantan province each have killed at least five this month, while landslides in West Java province have killed at least 28, authorities said.

On Jan. 9, a Sriwijaya Air jet crashed into the Java Sea with 62 onboard.

East Java’s Semeru mountain erupted late on Saturday, but there have been no reports of casualties or evacuations.

Dwikorita said extreme weather and other “multi-dangers” of hydrometeorology are forecast in the coming weeks.

Reuters

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