Jul 04, 2013

    Rescuers fight to reach Aceh quake victims

    RESCUERS battled through landslides and blocked roads yesterday to reach survivors of an earthquake in Indonesia's Aceh province that has killed at least 22 people, including several children who died when a mosque collapsed.

    More than 200 people were injured in Aceh's remote, mountainous interior when the 6.1-magnitude quake struck on Tuesday, flattening buildings and triggering landslides.

    The quake, which struck at a shallow depth of just 10km, has sparked panic in the natural-disaster-prone region where more than 170,000 people were killed by a quake-triggered tsunami in 2004.

    In Blang Mancung village in Central Aceh district, at least six children were killed when the mosque collapsed during a Quran-reading session.

    Mr Subhan Sahara, head of the district's disaster agency, said: "This is the biggest earthquake we've had here. People are still frightened, especially after the aftershocks last night.

    "Nobody dared to stay at home. Everyone slept on the roads or in carparks.

    "The earthquake triggered many landslides. People could not get out of the area because of fallen trees and mounds of earth blocking roads."

    The main hospital in the district was overwhelmed and tents were set up in the building's carpark to treat the flood of patients, he said.

    He added that supplies of food and water were in short supply, but rescuers had succeeded in reaching the remote area.