Jakarta [Indonesia], Dec. 7 : At least 26 people have been killed and several were injured after a strong 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck off Aceh province in the north part of the Indonesian island of Sumatra early on Wednesday morning.
"The earthquake was felt strongly and many people panicked and rushed outdoors as houses collapsed," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Sutopo Nugroho of the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), as saying in a statement.
The head of Aceh Indonesia Red Cross, Rudianto said that many people were trapped alive inside buildings and were being rescued by using heavy machinery.
He said that their focus was on evacuating people as many are still believed to be trapped alive. Asserting that the death toll was climbing quickly, the deputy regent of Pidie Jaya said, "I am in the hospital now.
We are sending the urgent cases to other hospitals [outside Pidie Jaya]. We can't treat them here. We have more heavy machinery coming to help evacuate." According to search and rescue agency, deputy head Heronimus Guru, 26 people had been killed as of now including 25 in Pidie Jaya regency and one in Bireuen regency.
BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that earthquake victims were being sent to the hospitals and the national and regional disaster management agencies are monitoring the situation following the earthquake.