Emergency workers and search and rescue teams were dispatched to clear the rubble after dozens of buildings and houses collapsed as a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Indonesia’s northern province of Aceh around 5 a.m. on Wednesday, December 7.
“The earthquake was felt strongly and many people panicked and rushed outdoors as houses collapsed,” Sutopo Nugroho of the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) said in a statement.
37-year-old Hasbi Jaya, a local resident, said his family was asleep when the strong temblor struck.
“We immediately ran outside the house but it crumbled. Everything from the roof to the floor collapsed, and was destroyed. I looked around and all my neighbors’ houses were also completely destroyed,” he said.
At least 20 people have died and many others were injured, as per the Sydney Morning Herald. However, the figure has not yet been confirmed.
“I’ve heard four, 18 and 20 fatalities, but according to information I have received so far, there’s been only one confirmed death,” Sutopo Nugroho, the spokesperson for the National Disaster Management Agency, said.
As mentioned in GMA News Online, the United States Geological Survey said the quake struck at a depth of 17 kilometers on Aceh’s northeastern coast. No tsunami warning was issued. At least five aftershocks were felt in the hours after the initial quake, the disaster management agency said.