Rescue workers search for survivors in 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Indonesia

Close to 100 people were killed and hundreds others injured by an earthquake that struck Indonesia's Aceh province early Wednesday morning.

Antara Foto/Ampelsa/Reuters
Indonesian rescue workers carry a survivor from a fallen building after an earthquake in Ulee Glee, Pidie Jaya, in the northern province of Aceh, Indonesia, on Dec.7, 2016.

A strong earthquake hit Indonesia’s Aceh province early Wednesday, killing close to 100 people and injuring hundreds more as authorities continue with search-and-rescue efforts through the rubble.

The earthquake, measured at a 6.5 magnitude by the US Geological Survey, toppled buildings and collapsed houses in Pidie Jaya, the district closest to the quake epicenter. According to local authorities, four people so far have been pulled  from the rubble alive.

“We are now focusing on searching for victims and possible survivors,” Sutopo Nugroho, spokesman from the Indonesian National Disaster Mitigation Agency told Reuters.

As night descends, the volunteers and authorities are working against time. Medical volunteers are racing to send victims to hospitals while rescuers hope to find more survivors among the ruins despite rains and power outages. No tsunami warning was issued, but officials warned residents to sleep outdoors as aftershocks continue to rock the already fragile buildings.

"The search this night depends on the location and the weather conditions," Aiyub Abbas, district chief of Pidie Jaya told the Associated Press. Mr. Abbas said there is an urgent need for excavation equipment to help move debris and emergency supplies.

More than 1,000 rescuers and hundreds of soldiers have been deployed by the Indonesian National Disaster Mitigation Agency, the Agency spokesman said. The Indonesian Red Cross has mobilized aid for the survivors with a focus on providing clean water and sanitation, dispatching hygiene kits, tarpaulins, blankets, jerry cans, and family assistance kits to the area.

According to local reports, medical staff are being stretched to care for the large number of wounded and the many more who may yet still be found. Mr. Nugroho said in a news conference that more than 200 shop houses and dwellings were either severely damaged or flattened, one hospital was damaged and 14 mosques collapsed in the aftermath.

Aceh, located at the northern tip of Sumatra Island, has experienced fatal earthquakes before. More than half the population, about 148 million people, live in Indonesia's quake-prone areas. In 2004, it was heavily hit by a 9.2 magnitude quake that triggered a tsunami, wiped out communities along the Indian Ocean and left more than 120,000 dead in Aceh alone.

While multiple earthquakes have rocked the region after 2004, Aceh has been largely rebuilt since then as a result of generous aid and efficient government-led development, as previously reported by The Christian Science Monitor.

This report contains material from the Associated Press.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Rescue workers search for survivors in 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Indonesia
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today