The earthquake that struck Sulawesi Island in Indonesia in the early hours of Friday left a trail of death and destruction in its wake. Initial estimates put the death toll at 34 with hundreds injured. It is a natural disaster and while there are instruments like seismograph to predict a quake, there is none to pinpoint the exact location of the strike. Obviously, when this quake struck in the early hours, people were caught unawares. It was a 6.2-magnitude earthquake. Its epicenter was 3.7 miles northeast of Majene city at a depth of around 6.2 miles. Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency confirmed this.

Initial estimates indicate the loss of eight lives in Majene with more than 600 injured and hundreds of people rendered homeless. The neighboring Mamuju area reported a loss of 26 lives. These are official figures of the National Board for Disaster Management BNPB.

CNN says the tremors lasted for five to seven seconds and damaged many houses in Majene. People fled from the locality to safe shelters. Buildings in Mamuju are reduced to rubble and the damages included a military command office in Majene apart from hotels and government buildings in the Mamuju area. Local search and rescue teams are trying to extricate those who are lying trapped in the buildings that collapsed. An official explained to a section of the media - "Our priority is saving victims who are still buried under the buildings." A large number of buildings in Mamuju have become mounds of rubble and the residents displaced.

They lacked the courage to remain in their houses.

The earthquake led to large-scale damages

Healthcare is in shambles after the earthquake. It has damaged four hospitals. One of them is the largest hospital in Mamuju. The communications chief mentioned the need for additional extrication equipment. He also wants additional hands to assist in saving victims trapped under the building.

Officials evacuated people from some homes wiped out due to the earthquake. CNN talks about damages to the infrastructure, which is common under these circumstances. Damaged roads led to a breakdown of communication and affected local telephone networks. Renewable Energy can play a vital role in such situations. In November 2019, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake killed at least 27 in Turkey and Greece.

People fled from the earthquake

The suddenness of the quake caught the people on the wrong foot. It happened when they were sleeping and least expected to face an incident of this nature. They had to make a hurried exit from their houses leaving their belongings. It was a situation difficult to reconcile to. CNN goes on to add that a large number of people who fled did not want to return because of fears of another earthquake or tsunami. In the words of West Sulawesi's Police Grand Commissioner Syamsu Ridwan - “Some of them are going to the higher place to avoid tsunami, although we have a confirmation that we have no tsunami after this big earthquake." Sulawesi faced a 6.2 magnitude earthquake in 2018 that killed thousands. In December 2018, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Alaska and damaged the infrastructure.

Hospital flattened by the earthquake

According to Al Jazeera, the earthquake flattened a hospital north of Majene and trapped patients and staff under the rubble. Efforts are on to rescue them. An official of Mamuju’s disaster mitigation agency says - “That number could grow but we hope it won’t… Many of the dead are buried under rubble.” Electricity supplies were also down and Travel disrupted due to damages to roads and bridges. Indonesia lies in the Pacific “ring of fire.” It is an archipelago of high tectonic activity where earthquakes are common. In December 2004, a 9.1 magnitude quake off the north of Sumatra Island in Indonesia triggered a tsunami that covered a number of countries in the region and left hundreds of thousands dead.

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