Magnitude 6.5 earthquake kills at least 20 in Indonesia

A strong earthquake has destroyed buildings and triggered landslides in the Maluku Islands in Indonesia‘s east on Thursday morning, leaving at least 20 people dead.

“The total number of people who died in the earthquake is 20,” Agus Wibowo, spokesman for the national disaster agency, said in a statement on Thursday.

“At least 100 people were injured and more than 2,000 evacuated,” he added.

The magnitude 6.5 quake hit the islands at approximately 8:45am (00:45 GMT) on Thursday.

Terrified people ran into the streets as buildings collapsed around them in Ambon, a city of about 400,000 people.

Residents were seen helping injured people in blood-stained clothes, while images showed wrecked homes with collapsed walls and rubble strewn on the ground, the AFP news agency said.

“The impact was felt across Ambon city and surrounding areas,” said Rahmat Triyono, head of the earthquake and tsunami division at Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency (BMKG).

“Many people were woken up by the shaking… it felt like a truck was passing by.”

The area was hit by at least two dozen aftershocks, including one that measured 5.6 magnitude, Triyono said.

Albert Simaela, a local disaster official, told the Associated Press that parts of a building at a university collapsed, while a main hospital in the city had also been damaged. Patients were evacuated to outdoor tents in the hospital’s yard, he said.