Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The official - and still provisional - number of victims of the massive 6.3 magnitude earthquake that hit the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi last weekend, is now 6. Rescuers have reached some villages isolated by a landslides, located in the regency of Sigi, where thousands of people continue to sleep in the open for fear of aftershocks. Hundreds of houses were destroyed, while the tsunami warning launched shortly after the first - violent - earthquake, which was followed by various aftershocks, has been recalled.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, confirms that "six people were killed," including "a child of nine years", 43 wounded and 400 homes have suffered serious damage. He states that "there is an area that has not yet been reached" and " two helicopters will be sent there" loaded with aid and basic necessities. "The death toll could rise - said the man - but we are confident."
The 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Sulawesi on 18 August, about 20 km deep underground. The epicenter was close to a group of villages scattered in the districts of Paris Moutong and Sigi.
The Indonesian authorities have allocated 200 soldiers to lead the evacuation of 70 families from the village of Salua. Landslides have blocked access to 14 villages in the surrounding districts, many bridges have collapsed and roads are flooded with water and mud.
The Indonesian archipelago is made up of thousands of islands and atolls surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, in an area better known to scientists as "the Pacific Ring of Fire". It is characterized by intense volcanic and land-based activity, caused by the collision of several continental plates. Memories of the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit the region in December 2004 are still fresh in peoples mind, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths across Asia. On 30 October 2009, another strong earthquake struck the area of Padang causing around 700 deaths. More than 180 homes were razed.