JAKARTA – At least 73 people were killed after an earthquake in the Indonesian province of West Sulawesi on Friday, the Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) announced on Sunday, the latest in a series of disasters affecting the Southeast Asian country.
More than 820 people were injured and more than 27,800 fled their homes after the magnitude 6.2 earthquake, BNPB spokesman Raditya Jati said. Some sought refuge in the mountains, while others went to cramped evacuation centers, witnesses said.
Police and military personnel are deployed to take action against looting in several parts of the region, Jati added.
Emergency response status, designed to support rescue efforts, has also been in place for two weeks, he said.
Dvikorita Karnavati, head of Indonesia’s Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency (BMKG), said another earthquake in the region could potentially cause a tsunami.
Walking the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia is regularly affected by earthquakes. In 2018, a devastating 6.2 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit the city of Palu in Sulawesi, killing thousands.
In just two weeks of the new year, the world’s fourth most populous country is battling several disasters.
Floods in North Sulawesi and South Kalimantan province have killed at least five this month, while landslides in West Java have killed at least 29, authorities said.
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On January 9, a Sriwijaya Air crashed in the Java Sea with 62 on board.
Mount Semeru in East Java erupted late Saturday, but there were no reports of casualties or evacuations.
Dwikorita said extreme weather conditions and other “many dangers” from hydrometeorology are forecast in the coming weeks.