The epicenter of the quake that erupted in Jakarta at 1:28 a.m. According to the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics, the time was six kilometers northeast of the city of Majene at a depth of ten kilometers.
More than 600 residents of the Majene area had been injured and 15,000 displaced, according to the country’s National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB).
Thousands of residents fled their homes to seek safety after the quake, which was felt strongly for five to seven seconds and damaged at least 300 homes, BNPB said.
Other buildings were also badly damaged, including a military command office in Majene and the Mitra Manakara private hospital, hotels and government buildings in the neighboring Mamuju area.
According to local search and rescue teams, many people are still trapped under collapsed buildings.
“Our obstacles here are that we don’t have heavy equipment to rescue them,” Saidar Rahmanjaya, head of the local search and rescue agency of Mamuju West Sulawesi, told local television.
Another difficulty is the lack of communication between the rescue teams, as the local telephone networks failed after the quake. There are eight places where people urgently need to be rescued.
Shalahuddin Salman, a resident of Mamuju, said many people were trapped because they were sleeping when the quake broke out in the middle of the night.
“We rescued four family members, but one still cannot be evacuated,” he told CNN after he and several others rescued a family from under a collapsed building. “(He’s) trapped in the building. We think he’s dead.”
Shalahuddin said he feared many people were trapped under the rubble of the Mitra Manakara private hospital, an eight-story structure that was flattened by the quake.
Meanwhile, thousands of people who escaped have chosen to stay away from their homes for fear of another earthquake or tsunami, said Syamsu Ridwan, West Sulawesi Police Chief Superintendent.
“Some of them are going to the higher level to avoid tsunami, although we have confirmation that we will not have a tsunami after this big earthquake,” he said.
The country’s meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency said the earthquake did not trigger a tsunami based on modeling by the agency of meteorology and climatology.
The earthquake also triggered a power outage and caused three landslides along the main road between Majene and Mamuju.
Hours earlier on Thursday, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit several houses in the same district.
The Indonesian Disaster Agency said a series of quakes in the past 24 hours had caused at least three landslides and electricity had been cut.
Indonesia, a nation with high tectonic activity, is located on the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire” and is regularly hit by earthquakes.
In 2018, a devastating 6.2 magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami struck the city of Palu, Sulawesi, killing thousands of people.