- At least 25 people died and hundreds were injured after a strong earthquake struck off Aceh province on Indonesia’s Sumatra island on Wednesday, local officials said.
- The shallow 6.5-magnitude quake struck Pidie Jaya district at dawn, as some in the predominantly Muslim region prepared for morning prayers.
- Mosques and shops were flattened in the small town of Meureudu, where the force of the quake sent people fleeing from their homes.
- No tsunami alert was issued.
- The head of the local disaster agency, Puteh Manaf, said the sole hospital in the district had been overwhelmed by the number of injured.
- “The data we have now is that 25 people have been killed and hundreds are estimated to have suffered injuries,” he told AFP.
- Local district secretary Iskandar Ali also confirmed the figure, citing preliminary data that showed at least 25 had died in the quake.
- Rescue operations were under way to find those believed trapped beneath the rubble, with heavy machinery being used to shift the debris.
- The US Geological Survey upgraded the magnitude to 6.5 from an initial reading of 6.4 and issued a yellow alert for expected fatalities and damage.
- ndonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide.
- Aceh lies on the northern tip of Sumatra island, which is particularly prone to quakes.
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