Indonesia hit with consecutive natural calamities; Several dead

Jakarta, Dec 7: A strong undersea earthquake and a series of  landslides have rocked Indonesia. Several deaths and casualties have been reported due to two consecutive hit of natural calamities.

Several buildings collapsed and many dead bodies were excavated after  the undersea earthquake in Indonesia’s province of Aceh, early Wednesday. The US Geological Survey said the shallow 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck at 5:03 a.m. (4.00 am IST) was centered about 10 kilometers north of Reuleut, a town in northern Aceh, at a depth of 17.2 kilometers.

Indonesia’s Climate, Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said the quake has no potential to trigger a tsunami. Sulaiman, a local disaster official, told local MetroTV that a woman and her two children were killed in Pidie Jaya, 18 kilometers (11 miles) southwest of the epicenter.

Several mosques in Pidie Jaya collapsed as well as stores, houses and other buildings. Heavy equipment has been deployed for the effort to search for survivors. Residents of the nearby town of Lhokseumawe ran out of their houses in panic during the quake.

The world’s largest archipelago, Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. In December 2004, a massive earthquake off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

Landslides in Banten and Central Java provinces of western Indonesia have left 5 people dead and three others injured, disaster agency official said on Wednesday.

In Banten province, another landslide took place in a traditional gold mining compound at Citorek village of Lebak district, killing four miners and injuring 3 others, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of national disaster management agency told Xinhua via phone.

Heavy downpours triggered soil of a hill to fall and smash tents of the miners, he said.

The victims have been evacuated by police and the local communities, Sutopo added.

Previously, a landslide also hit the province on Monday, leaving two people dead with two others sustaining injuries, according to an official of the provincial disaster agency.

Separately in East Java province, landslides occurred in Magelang district. leaving one person dead, Sutopo added.