Rescue workers from the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) inspect a ruin to find a survivor in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, on Saturday. (Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan)

Gov't Warns Against Major Aftershock in West Sulawesi as Death Toll Climbs to 42


JANUARY 16, 2021

Jakarta. At least 42 people have died from the West Sulawesi earthquake, and more than 800 people suffered minor to serious injuries as the search and rescue teams work around the clock to find people trapped under the ruins and restore power to the region, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said on Saturday. 

The agency, also known as BNPB, said more than 15,000 people were displaced and gathered in 10 evacuation points in Mamuju and Majene, two districts that suffered the most from the earthquake. Mamuju has so far reported 34 deaths, while Majane recorded eight fatalities. 


A 6.2 magnitude earthquake shocked the region at 02:28 a.m. local time on Friday, destroying hundreds of houses and buildings, including the West Sulawesi governor's office. The shock also cut out the power in the districts. 

"Until now, Majene is still in the process of repairing the power network, so that the entire area is still in a blackout," Raditya Jati, BNPB's head of data, information, and communication, said in a statement on Saturday. 

 "Some areas in Mamuju already have the power back, but some others are still experiencing disturbances," he said. 

The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) reported 31 minor shocks in the province since Friday. The agency warned that another major shock at a scale similar to Friday's earthquake could still happen in the next few days, with the potential to cause more landslides in the hillside and a tsunami in the coastal area. 

"BNPB urges the public always to be aware of the potential for aftershocks of significant magnitude," Raditya said. 

The public also needs to "be vigilant, especially those in hilly areas with cliffs. People who live in coastal or coastal areas are also expected always to be alert and immediately stay away from the beach when they feel an aftershock," Raditya said. 

The Health Ministry has supplied 50,000 surgical masks and 20,000 cloth masks to Mamuju and Majene district to prevent the Covid-19 from spreading in the temporary shelters. West Sulawesi has 825 active Covid-19 cases on Friday, one of the lowest in Indonesia, the Health Ministry data showed.