Over 45,000 displaced in Indonesia earthquake

Jakarta, Dec 10 (IANS) More than 45,000 people have been rendered homeless due to a 6.5 magnitude earthquake which struck Aceh province in Indonesia leaving over a hundred people dead, official sources said.

In its latest statement on Saturday, the National Agency for Disaster Management doubled the number of people displaced in the region located in the north of Sumatra, reports Efe.

In the report, the agency put the number of deaths at 101 and 857 injured including 139 critically. Most of the victims were in Pidie Jaya regency, which was the worst affected region due to it’s closeness to the epicentre.

In the town of Meureudu in Pidie Jaya regency, personnel from four main agencies including the Indonesian military, the National Disaster Management Authority and the police deployed heavy machinery and a rescue dog in the search on Saturday.

Between 200 and 300 people from those agencies took part in the search, and six mechanical excavators were used.

The rescue dog named ‘Beta’ is trained to bark when it senses something such as a body or a survivor. The canine was reportedly taken to Nepal following that country’s devastating earthquake in April, 2015.

Rescue teams have been working to provide drinking water and food to the affected, facilitate their evacuation and provide psychological assistance and protection, said a spokesperson from the agency.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo promised aid of 40 million rupiah ($3,000) to those affected during a visit to the area on Friday.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a zone of high seismic and volcanic activity that experiences around 7,000 tremors mostly of moderate intensity every year.