6.4 earthquake in Aceh: At least 52 dead, search for missing
by Mathias Hariyadi

The earthquake struck at 5:03 am local time. Many residents were preparing for morning Muslim prayers. Homes destroyed and thousands displaced. It is the worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami.


Jakarta (AsiaNews) - At least 52 people died this morning in Aceh in a 6.4 magnitude earthquake. Aceh was hit by the earthquake and tsunami of 2004. The quake occurred at 5:03 local time, in the Pidie region, while many inhabitants in the Muslim majority province were preparing for morning prayers. Hundreds of houses and buildings collapsed, trapping an unknown number of people. The toll is set to rise. At the moment there are also 73 serious and 200 minor injuries.

The province of Aceh is located in the northern part of the island of Sumatra. M. Riyadi, head of the earthquake division in the Indonesian Meteorology department, said: "The epicenter of the earthquake was 10 kilometers deep on land, not at sea, so there is no danger of a tsunami, but that means more damage to buildings. "

Thousands of families have been evacuated from their homes. The main shock was followed by 11 other minor tremors. President Joko Widodo has given orders that all available agents deploy in rescue operations to rescue those trapped under the rubble, find any dead and missing.

The earthquake this morning is the second worst natural disaster to hit Aceh since the 9.1 magnitude earthquake on 26 December 2004 and the subsequent tsunami that killed 170 thousand people.