Indonesia: At least 92 dead after the earthquake
Rescue operations have been underway to find those believed to be trapped beneath the rubble, with heavy machinery being used to shift the debris.
A strong earthquake of 6.5 magnitude has left at least 92 people dead and hundreds injured in Aceh province on Indonesia's Sumatra island on Wednesday.
The local officials informed media that the shallow 6.5-magnitude quake struck Pidie Jaya district at dawn, as some in the predominantly Muslim region prepared for morning prayers. As a result, Mosques and shops were flattened in the small town of Meureudu, where the force of the quake sent people fleeing from their homes. No tsunami alert was issued.
The head of the local disaster agency, Puteh Manaf, said the sole hospital in the district had been overwhelmed by the number of injured. "The data we have now is that 25 people have been killed and hundreds are estimated to have suffered injuries," he had told a media agency earlier.
Reportedly, rescue operations have been underway to find those believed to be trapped beneath the rubble, with heavy machinery being used to shift the debris. Witnesses have been quoted as saying that local residents were wandering the streets, unable to return to their damaged homes and fearing aftershocks.
Reports have said that the local hospital was struggling to cope, with the injured being treated on the ground outside the front of the building. Deputy District Chief Said Mulyadi told that patients were also being sent to a neighbouring district with greater facilities.
He said at least seven children were among the dead, and many more had suffered broken bones and other injuries. "There are many shophouses have caved in, and many (people) are alive but trapped," he told.
Seismologists have said the earthquake was felt across much of Aceh province, which was devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. At least five aftershocks followed the quake, said Eridawati, local head of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency.
The US Geological Survey issued a yellow alert for expected fatalities and damage.Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide.
Aceh lies on the northern tip of Sumatra island, which is particularly prone to quakes.