JAKARTA, Indonesia – A strong earthquake struck Indonesia's Aceh province on Tuesday, killing at least one person and leaving two others missing. Many houses were damaged and dozens of villagers were injured.
The magnitude-6.1 quake struck at a depth of just 6 miles and its epicenter was located 34 miles west of the town of Bireun on the western tip of Sumatra island, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
The worst-hit area was the district of Bener Meriah, where the quake caused a landslide that killed a man and left his wife and a young boy missing, said Fauzi, an official of the local disaster agency.
"Dozens of people were injured and are being treated at three hospitals," said Fauzi, who like many Indonesians uses a single name. He said at least 22 houses were badly damaged in the district.
At least five people were reportedly injured and 10 houses were damaged in Takengon, the capital of Central Aceh district, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.
"I see many houses were damaged and their roofs fell onto some people," said Bensu Elianita, a 22-year-old resident in Bukit Sama village in Central Aceh district. "Many people were injured, but it is difficult to evacuate them due to traffic jams."
She said people in the village ran out from their houses in panic and screamed for help. At least two homes were totally flattened, she said, adding that the quake also caused a blackout in the village.
The quake also caused panic among officials attending a meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in Medan, the capital of neighboring North Sumatra province. The officials were escorted from the second-floor meeting room by security officers.
Indonesia is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Ocean.
In 2004, a huge earthquake off Aceh triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people across Asia.