Indonesia quake, floods death toll climb to 96...

Dhaka, Tuesday   09 March 2021

Indonesia quake, floods death toll climb to 96

 International Desk

 Published: 11:30 AM, 18 January 2021   Updated: 12:02 PM, 18 January 2021

Rescuers try to remove the body of an earthquake victim trapped in a collapsed building in Mamuju; Photo: AFP

Rescuers try to remove the body of an earthquake victim trapped in a collapsed building in Mamuju; Photo: AFP

The death toll from a strong earthquake and floods in the central parts of Indonesia has risen to 96, with nearly 70,000 people forced to flee home and take shelter, the National Disaster Management Agency said on Monday.

A total of 81 people were killed after the 6.2-magnitude quake and the 5.9-magnitude aftershock struck West Sulawesi province on Thursday and Friday, and 15 people were reported dead in South Kalimantan province as floods have hit the province since January 14, the agency’s spokesman Raditya Jati said.

The quakes have forced about 28,000 people to take shelter in 25 evacuation centers in West Sulawesi province’s city of Mamuju and district of Majene, while the floods caused nearly 40,000 others to take shelter in South Kalimantan province, Jati said.

“The number of houses damaged by the quakes rose to 1,150 units in the district, and five school buildings were also destroyed there,” he said.

The assessment of risks of the quakes in the city and the district was still going on, Jati said.

Fearing the possibility of further spread of Covid-19 among the evacuees, rapid tests will be applied to them and the shelters for the displaced people will be separated from each other, according to the agency’s head Doni Monardo.

“There will be antigen tests to ensure that the evacuees have not been infected by the Covid-19 virus,” Monardo said.

Meanwhile, in South Kalimantan province, the floods have inundated nearly 25,000 houses, Raditya Jati said.

“An emergency status has been declared there since January 14 and the risk assessment has been undertaken,” he added.

The province has been hit by massive floods since 14 January after heavy rains pounded the area, according to the agency.

Earthquakes regularly hit Indonesia due to the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”. A devastating 7.5-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami struck the city of Palu, in Sulawesi, killing thousands in 2018.

The country’s metrological agency has warned of aftershocks in Sulawesi, along with the risk of extreme weather and other flood dangers in the coming weeks.