BLANG MANCUNG/BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA – Rescuers battled through landslides and blocked roads Wednesday to reach survivors from an earthquake in Indonesia’s Aceh province that has killed at least 22 people, including six children who died when a mosque collapsed.
More than 200 people were also injured in Aceh’s remote, mountainous interior when the 6.1-magnitude quake struck the north island of Sumatra on Tuesday, flattening buildings and triggering landslides.
The temblor, which struck at a shallow depth of just 10 km, sparked panic in the disaster-prone region, where more than 170,000 people were killed by the quake-triggered tsunami of 2004.
In the village of Blang Mancung, central Aceh district, at least six children were killed when a mosque collapsed during a Quran reading session.
“This is the biggest earthquake we’ve ever had here,” said Subhan Sahara, head of the district’s disaster agency.
The main hospital in the district was overwhelmed and tents had been set up outside to treat the flood of patients, he said, adding that food and water were in short supply.
Military, police and local government officials were trying to head to affected areas by ground and in aircraft but some roads were blocked by landslides, the national disaster agency said.
Twenty-two people have died so, with another 210 injured and thousands of buildings and homes damaged in the quake, disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said. The casualties were spread over the two worst-hit districts of central Aceh and Bener Meriah. Scores of people were being treated at hospitals across the region.