Indonesia quake death toll rises to 23: official

September 27, 2019
Indonesia earthquake
Indonesia earthquake. "AFP PHOTO / BADAN NASIONAL PENANGGULANGAN BENCANA (BNPB)"

JAKARTA — The death toll from a powerful earthquake that rocked Indonesia’s remote Maluku islands has risen to 23, the disaster agency said Friday, as more than 15,000 people were evacuated to shelters.

Terrified residents ran into the streets as buildings fell in around them with the 6.5-magnitude tremor sparking landslides that buried at least one victim on Thursday.

Among the confirmed dead was an infant, with many killed by falling debris in and around quake-struck Ambon city.

“The total number of people who died is 23,” national disaster mitigation agency spokesman Agus Wibowo said in a statement.

More than 100 people were also injured and at least 15,000 people had to evacuate because their houses were damaged by the strong jolt, Wibowo said.

Hundreds of houses, offices, schools and public facilities have also been damaged in the disaster. Authorities have set up emergency tents and public kitchen for the evacuees in several districts.

The US Geological Survey said the quake struck about 37 kilometres (23 miles) northeast of Ambon in Maluku province at a depth of 29 kilometres.

The Southeast Asian archipelago is one of the most disaster-prone nations on Earth.