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6 dead in earthquake on northern Indonesian island

The death toll rose to six on Monday from a powerful weekend earthquake in Indonesia as rescuers reached mountainous villages that had been cut off by landslides, officials said. At least 43 others were injured, including eight in critical condition.

The magnitude-6.3 quake struck Saturday evening near Palu city on Sulawesi Island as residents were ending their fast on the final day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of Indonesia's Disaster Management Agency said rescuers with heavy equipment and bulldozers were clearing the roads to at least 14 villages in Sigie district that were blocked by landslides.

Nugroho said six people were killed by falling debris and tons of mud, including a 9-year-old boy, and the toll was likely to rise further.

He said the earthquake damaged hundreds of houses and buildings in Parigi Mountong and Sigie, the closest districts to the epicenter, and roads and bridges were destroyed.

Indonesia is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and fault lines around the Pacific Basin.

A giant quake off the country on Dec. 26, 2004, triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people, half of them in Indonesia's westernmost province of Aceh.

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