At least seven people have died and hundreds have been injured following a major earthquake in Indonesia, as panicked residents fled their homes.
The 6.2 magnitude quake struck Sulawesi island around 1 am local time on Friday, the country’s disaster mitigation agency said in a statement.
Videos on social media showed residents fleeing to higher ground on motorcycles, and a child trapped under the rubble as people tried to remove debris with their bare hands.
Some buildings were badly damaged, including two hotels, the governor’s office, and a mall, Sudirman Samual, a journalist based in Mamuju, around four miles north of the epicenter, said.
Around 60 homes are also estimated to have been severely affected, with thousands of people forced to seek refuge in the early hours.
At least one route into Mamuju – which has an estimated population of 110,000 – had been cut off, Mr. Samual added, due to damage to a bridge.
Initial information from the agency showed that four people had died and 637 others were injured in Majene, while there were three more fatalities and two dozen injured in the neighboring province of Mamuju.
Indonesia, which experiences regular seismic and volcanic activity because of the country’s location on the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide, has been hit by a number of earthquakes over recent days.
Earlier on Thursday, a 5.9-magnitude earthquake shook the West Sulawesi province in central Indonesia, damaging several houses, the country’s meteorology and geophysics agency reported.
The quake, which also had a depth of 10km, hit at 1.35 pm local time with the epicenter located 4km from northwest Majene district.
The disaster agency said a series of quakes in the past 24 hours had caused at least three landslides, and the electricity supply had been cut.
Straddling the so-called Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, Indonesia, a nation of high tectonic activity, is regularly hit by earthquakes.
On January 4, a 5.0-magnitude earthquake, again with a depth of 10km, struck an area 137km north-northwest of Kendari.
It comes after heavy rain caused landslides in the southeast Asian country on Saturday, leaving 11 people dead and a further 18 people injured.
The landslides at Cihanjuang Village in West Java, about 150km (95 miles) southeast of the capital Jakarta took place at 4 pm and 7.30 pm local time.
In 2018, a devastating 6.2-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami struck the city of Palu, in Sulawesi, killing thousands of people.