by Staff Writers
Jakarta (AFP) Dec 10, 2016
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced after a devastating earthquake in Indonesia killed more than 100 people, an official said Saturday, leaving communities in ruins as aid trickled into the disaster-stricken province.
"We have 45,300 people evacuating in several places as of Saturday morning," national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told AFP, adding that the number of displaced had almost doubled since Friday due to an influx of new data.
The shallow 6.5-magnitude quake earlier this week levelled hundreds of homes, mosques and businesses across Aceh province, one of the areas worst affected by the devastating 2004 tsunami.
More than 700 people were injured in the quake, many seriously, according to the country's disaster agency.
Most of the displaced spent the night outdoors in tents near their ruined homes as hundreds refused to move into shelters fearing aftershocks, Nugroho added.
The army has established kitchens, shelters and a field hospital in the hard-hit town of Meureudu to help the region's overwhelmed health facilities.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited Meureudu Friday, pledging to rebuild the area's devastated communities as he called on Indonesians to pray for their countrymen.
The archipelago nation experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide.
A huge undersea earthquake in 2004 triggered a tsunami that engulfed several countries around the Indian Ocean, killing more than 170,000 people in Indonesia alone, the vast majority in Aceh.
The province lies on the northern tip of Sumatra island, which is particularly prone to quakes.
In June a 6.5-magnitude quake struck off the west of Sumatra, damaging scores of buildings and injuring eight people.
Quake shakes Croatia coast causing panic
The quake hit a few minutes before 2:00 pm (1300 GMT), with the epicentre underwater some eight kilometers (five miles) west of Split, the country's seismological service said.
It was felt along the central coast and on nearby islands.
No one was injured in the quake while only minor damage, such as cracked walls or broken windows, was reported, Split mayor Ivo Baldasar said.
"Split had no major tremors in its history so we hope it will remain so," Baldasar told reporters.
Many panicked residents of Croatia's second largest town rushed into the streets or squares. Some parts of the town were briefly without power while schools and some public institutions were closed in the afternoon.
"The tremor was felt rather strongly, in our apartment all things fell from the shelves," one Split resident told online portal Index.
The most recent devastating quake in the Balkans hit the Macedonian capital Skopje in 1963. It killed around a thousand people.
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