08/30/2022, 13.11
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Earthquake in Mentawai damages buildings, including a church

by Mathias Hariyadi

More than 2,000 people have been forced to flee to avoid the effects of aftershocks. The roof of a newly built church collapses from the 6.4 quake.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – More than 2,000 people have left their homes on the Mentawai islands, 150 km west of Sumatra, after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck the area yesterday.

“At least some 494 families are now seeking refuge in three different locations, but the number is expected to rise,” said Novriadi, an official with the local Mitigation and Risk Disaster Agency.

Scores of homes and the newly built St Peter Simalibeg Catholic Church suffered damage. "The roof of the church collapsed and the structure of the cross above fractured," said a Catholic teacher from Siberut, an island in the small archipelago, speaking to AsiaNews.

Despite the absence of tsunami threats, Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Council (BMKG[*]) issued a warning of potential aftershocks that could seriously affect the structure of other buildings.

According to the BMKG, yesterday's earthquake was "dangerous" because the epicentre, 12 km west of Siberut Island, was located on an important fault line.

At present, precise data on the damage and possible injuries are not yet available. In 2010 a 7.2 scale earthquake in Mentawai killed over 300 people generating a tsunami with three-metre-high waves.

[*] Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi, dan Geofisika.

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