“That number could grow but we hope it won't. Many of the dead are buried under rubble.”
Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island has been rocked by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake on early Friday, January 15. According to reports, the quake has led to the death of at least 34 people. It has also destroyed properties and triggered landslides.
Moreover, a hospital has collapsed, trapping patients and staff members underneath. Arianto, one of the rescuers, said that a local hospital has been “flattened.”
In Mamuju city, the quake has killed 26 but rescuers fear that’s not the entire picture yet.
As local disaster mitigation agency head Ali Rahman shared:
“That number could grow but we hope it won’t. Many of the dead are buried under rubble.”
So far, we learn that more than 600 have been injured by the quake, a news report indicated.
Dwikorita Karnawati, head of the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency likewise warned the public that strong aftershocks could occur and another strong quake may still cause a tsunami.
On top of those possibilities, officials are also worried about the country’s current situation amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“One of our biggest fears is exactly what’s going on right now – what happens when there’s a major event during a pandemic? It’s a perfect storm,” explained Jan Gelfand, head of Indonesia’s International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “If you have people who are evacuated, the risk [of infection] for those people goes up tremendously. You don’t want to put people in more danger than they are already in.”
Meanwhile, President Joko Widodo released a statement, encouraging people to remain calm and urging authorities to speed up the rescue operations.
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