At least 46 people died in the magnitude 6.2 earthquake on the island of Celebes, according to a spokesperson for the disaster management agency. The island had already been hit in 2018 by a very strong earthquake followed by a devastating tsumani.
Dozens of lifeless bodies were removed from the rubble of collapsed buildings in Mamuju, the provincial capital of western Celebes. Other victims were found further south, where a strong aftershock was felt on Saturday morning.
Despite the shortage of equipment, rescuers managed to extract the ruins. “At least ten survivors”, announced a person in charge of the emergency services on the spot, without specifying how many people could still be prisoners.
Planes and boats arrive with food and emergency equipment while the navy has sent a medical boat to supplement the still operating hospitals, overwhelmed by the influx of wounded, according to local media. About 190 people are being treated for serious injuries, authorities said.
In addition, 15,000 inhabitants have gained temporary shelters, often makeshift – tents, metal huts and even coconut leaves… – to shelter from heavy rains. Additionally, to prevent the spread of Covid-19, authorities have separated high-risk and lower-risk groups. Landslides that followed the earthquake and heavy rains cut off access to one of the province’s main roads. The airport was also damaged as well as the seat of the governor while part of the city remains without electricity.
Message from Pope Francis
Pope Francis declared himself on Friday January 15 “Saddened by the earthquake and expressed “His solidarity” to all who are affected ”.
Another region of Indonesia, Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, has been hit for several days by heavy flooding. They killed five people and dozens of residents are missing, local media reported.
The Indonesian archipelago, which lies on the “Belt of fire” of the Pacific, an area of high seismic activity, is often the victim of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The region of Palu, further north on the island of Celebes, had already been hit in September 2018 by a very strong 7.5 magnitude earthquake followed by a tsunami. This disaster left more than 4,300 dead and missing, and at least 170,000 displaced people.
Another devastating 9.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra in 2004, causing a tsunami that killed 220,000 people in the region, including about 170,000 in Indonesia.