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Powerful earthquake in Indonesia’s Sulawesi kills at least 42, injures hundreds

At least 42 people were killed and hundreds more injured after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit Indonesia’s Sulawesi island early Friday, the country’s disaster mitigation agency said.

The epicenter of the quake, which struck at 1:28 am Jakartatime, was six kilometers (3.7 miles) northeast of the city of Majene, at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), according to Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency.

34 people died in the city of Mamuju, to the north of the epicenter, while another eight died in Majene.

In Majene, at least 637 were injured and 15,000 residents have been displaced, according to the country’s National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB).

Thousands of residents fled their homes to seek safety following the quake, which could be felt strongly for five to seven seconds and damaged at least 300 houses in Majene, BNPB said.

Other buildings have also been badly damaged, including a military command office in Majene, and hotels and government buildings in Mamuju.

Many people are still trapped under collapsed buildings, according to local search and rescue teams.

“Our priority is saving victims who are still buried under the buildings,” Safaruddin Sanusi, head of West Sulawesi’s Communications and Information Department, told CNN Friday. “For example in the [West Sulawesi governor’s office] we are still trying to evacuate two security guards who are trapped inside.”

Nearly half of the buildings in Mamuju have been wiped out by the quake, he added.

“Most…of [the] people in Mamuju city are now displaced. They are afraid to stay at their houses.” The communications chief also said the quake had damaged four of Mamuju’s largest hospitals.

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