A powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake shook Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island on Friday, January 15 killing at least 42 people, leaving hundreds injured and thousands displaced. 

Videos and pictures shared on social media show the devastation of the 10-second quake which struck six kilometres northeast of Majene city, at a depth of 10km.

The five-storey Mitra Manakarra Hospital in Mamuju collapsed partially, killing eight people. Sixty others were evacuated from the hospital. A hotel was also badly damaged from the quake.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo shared condolences to the victims, and urged people to stay calm. He said authorities will step up search efforts.

In a tweet Widodo said: “I contacted the Governor of West Sulawesi by telephone this morning. I also ordered the Head of BNPB, the Minister of Social Affairs, the Head of Basarnas, the TNI Commander and the Police Chief, to immediately take emergency response steps, find and find victims, and treat the injured.”

On social media, video footage of a girl pinned under rubble calling for help, has been circulating. The horror of what citizens are enduring as they search for loved ones among the rubble is heartbreaking.

The coronavirus pandemic adds another layer of concern to victims of the disaster, as medical services are already strained.

The country has a history with destructive natural disasters, tsunamis and earthquakes occur often – the last was the Sulawesi quake which claimed the lives of 2000 people.

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