Indonesian teams find more bodies, clear roads after quake

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MAMUJU, Indonesia (AP) – Indonesian rescuers recovered more bodies from the rubble of homes and buildings toppled by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake, bringing the death toll to 56 on Sunday, while military engineers have succeeded in reopening broken roads to free up access to help.

Heavier equipment reached the hardest-hit town of Mamuju and the neighboring district of Majene on the island of Sulawesi, where the earthquake struck on Friday evening, said Raditya Jati, spokesperson for the National Prevention Agency. disasters.

The power supply and telephone communications have also started to improve.

Thousands of people were left homeless and more than 800 were injured, with more than half still being treated for serious injuries, Jati said. A total of 47 people died in Mamuju and nine in Majene.

Jati said at least 415 homes in Majene were damaged and around 15,000 people were moved to shelters. The agency still collects data from the region.

Mamuju, the provincial capital of nearly 300,000 inhabitants, was littered with the debris of collapsed buildings. The governor’s office building was nearly flattened by the earthquake and a mall reduced to a crumpled hulk. Two hospitals were damaged.

The disaster agency said the Army Corps of Engineers cleared the road between Mamuju and Majene which was blocked by landslides. They also rebuilt a damaged bridge,

Many people on Sulawesi island are still haunted by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake that devastated the city of Palu in 2018 and triggered a tsunami that caused the ground to collapse in a phenomenon called liquefaction. More than 4,000 people were killed, many of whom were buried when entire neighborhoods were engulfed in falling ground.

Indonesia, home to over 260 million people, is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis due to its location on the “Ring of Fire”, an arc of volcanoes and lines of fire. fault in the Pacific Basin.

A magnitude 9.1 earthquake off the island of Sumatra in western Indonesia in December 2004 triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

_____

Karmini reported from Jakarta, Indonesia.

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