A strong earthquake hit the Aceh coast of Indonesia's island leaving many dead and dozens trapped and injured. Major General Tatang told DPA news agency that about 97 people have died in the earthquake that struck in the early hours of Wednesday morning. As a matter of fact, the national disaster mitigation agency have stipulated that about 78 people have suffered life-threatening injuries from the earthquake. The district chief of Pidie Jayat added that hundreds of people living in the district had been injured. He also claimed that dozens of buildings had collapsed leaving a handful of people homeless.

The deputy chief of Pidie Juya, Said Mulyadi, claimed that about seven children were among the dead. He also said that the local hospital was astonished at the number of injured people. According to him, the hospital in the locality couldn't admit all the patients, so they had to move some to neighboring hospitals.

When did the earthquake happen?

The earthquake struck at 5 a.m in the morning as people prepared for the usual morning prayers. People ran out from their homes when it happened because a similar natural disaster had happened in 2004 leaving many lifeless. Step Vaessan, an Al Jazzera reporter claimed that a lot of people ran to surrounding hills to take cover. Mosques, homes and shops were brought down by the quake.

Images from the hit areas show significant damages.

Some people were trapped in the quake

According to the local disaster management agency, the rescue efforts were underway to rescue people trapped beneath collapsed buildings. Puteh Manaf claimed that heavy machines are being used at the moment to evacuate people trapped inside shop houses.

Vaessen said that a rescue mission is ongoing to locate more survivors. He fears that the death toll might rise as a lot of people are believed to be trapped in collapsed buildings.

Seismologists said Aceh province experienced the worst impact of the earthquake compared to neighboring districts. They claim that because of the position of Indonesia on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", a lot of seismic and volcanic activities are prone to occur. Aceh is even more prone to devastating quake because it is positioned at the tip of the northern Sumatra island.