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Hunt for buried survivors after Indonesia quake

At least 45 people died after the 6.2-magnitude quake struck in the early hours of Friday, triggering panic among residents of the island.

Picture: Pixabay.com

MAMUJU - Rescuers scrambled to find buried survivors Saturday after a powerful earthquake on Indonesia's Sulawesi island killed dozens, injured hundreds and left more feared trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings.

At least 45 people died after the 6.2-magnitude quake struck in the early hours of Friday, triggering panic among residents of the island, which was hit by a 2018 quake-tsunami disaster that killed thousands.

Search-and-rescue worked through the night as they pulled dozens of bodies from beneath crumpled buildings in Mamuju, a city of about 110,000 people in West Sulawesi province, where a hospital was flattened and a shopping mall was left in ruins.

Others were killed south of the city after the quake struck, as a strong aftershock jolted the disaster-hit region Saturday morning.

Planes and boats packed with food and other emergency supplies were arriving as thousands left homeless by the quake flocked to makeshift shelters, many little more than tarpaulin-covered tents.

"We need more equipment for the rescue effort," said Ali Rahman, chief of the local disaster agency.

"Now, we're focusing on two locations" in the hunt for survivors, he added.

Authorities have not given a figure for the number of residents who could still be trapped under crushed buildings, including the hospital that collapsed with more than a dozen patients and staff inside.

On Saturday, authorities said they had pulled eight corpses from under the building, while five members of a family of eight were found dead in the crumpled remains of their home.

Among the Mamuju survivors was a pair of young sisters plucked from under the mass of concrete and other debris. The pair are now being treated in hospital.

Nearly 200 people were hospitalised for serious injuries, local authorities said.

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