Strong quake jolts west Indonesia; 3 killed

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 18:52

Jakarta: A powerful earthquake jolted western
Indonesia on Tuesday morning, killing three people and sending
panicked residents fleeing from homes, hotels and even a
hospital.

The magnitude-6.6 quake hit about 1 am (2330 IST) Monday,
waking people in towns and villages across Sumatra island`s
northern tip.

It was centered 100 kilometres southwest of the city of
Medan and 110 kilometres beneath the earth`s crust, according
to the US Geological Survey. It was too far inland to generate
a tsunami.

Maura Sakti, a mayor in Subulussalam, told local station
TVOne a 12-year-old boy had been killed. At least one other
person was injured.

Boby Sigit, an official at the National Disaster
Management, said later that two people were killed in Aceh --
the boy and a 60-year-old man -- while a 26-year-old mother
died in North Sumatra`s district of Dairi.

Hundreds of people were evacuated to temporary shelters as
authorities surveyed the damage, said Lt Col Helmy Kesuma,
police chief in the hard-hit town of Singkil.

Some electricity poles were knocked down there, crashing
into homes and causing blackouts.

"My wife was screaming, my children crying," said Burhan
Mardiansyah, 37, a Singkil resident. "We saw our walls start
to crack and everything inside the house was falling. Thank
God we`re all safe."

The panic extended to Medan, the sprawling provincial
capital of North Sumatra, where hundreds of patients from at
least one hospital had to be evacuated, some in wheelchairs or
with IVs attached to their arms.

Hotels emptied and residents ran into the streets or the
balconies of their rented homes, clutching babies to their
chests. Fearing aftershocks, many refused to go back inside
for hours.

Indonesia straddles a series of fault lines that makes the
vast island nation prone to volcanic and seismic activity.

A giant quake off the country on Dec 26, 2004, triggered a
tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people, half
of them in Indonesia`s westernmost province of Aceh.

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 16:05

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