Jakarta: The death toll from a strong earthquake and floods that hit Indonesia has increased to 96, with nearly 70,000 people currently displaced, the National Disaster Management Agency said on Monday.
"The quakes have forced about 28,000 people to take shelter in 25 evacuation centre in West Sulawesi province's city of Mamuju and Majene district, while the floods caused nearly 40,000 others to take shelter in South Kalimantan province," said Raditya Jati, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency's spokesperson.
The number of houses damaged by the quakes rose to 1,150 units in the district, and five school buildings were also destroyed there, he said.
The assessment of risks of the quakes in the city and the district was still going on, Jati said.
More rescuers and volunteers were deployed in the hardest-hit city of Mamuju and the neighboring district of Majene on Sulawesi island, where the magnitude 6.2 quake struck early Friday, he added
According to various reports, a total of 70 people died in Mamuju and 11 in Majene, meanwhile, 15 people were killed in South Kalimantan as floods have hit the province since January 14.
Fearing the possibility of further spread of Covid-19 among the evacuees, rapid tests will be conducted and shelters for the displaced people will be separated from each other, according to the agency's head Doni Monardo.
"There will be antigen tests to ensure that the evacuees have not been infected by the Covid-19 virus," Monardo said.
Meanwhile, in South Kalimantan province, the floods have inundated nearly 25,000 houses, Jati said.
An emergency status has been declared there since January 14 and the risk assessment has been undertaken, he added.
Water, which has been in short supply, as well as food and medical supplies were being distributed from trucks. The military said it sent five planes carrying rescue personnel, food, medicine, blankets, field tents and water tankers.
Volunteers and rescue personnel erected more temporary shelters for those left homeless in Mamuju and Majene.
Most were barely protected by makeshift shelters that were lashed by heavy monsoon downpours. Only a few were lucky to be protected by tarpaulin-covered tents. They said they were running low on food, blankets and other aid, as emergency supplies were rushed to the hard-hit region.
Mahatir, a relief coordinator for volunteer rescuers, said his team was trying to reach many people in six isolated villages in Majene district after the quake damaging roads and bridges. Aid and other logistic supplies can be distributed only by foot over the severe terrain, said Mahatir who goes by one name.
Mamuju, the provincial capital of nearly 300,000 people, was strewn with debris from collapsed buildings. The governors office building was almost flattened and a shopping mall was reduced to a crumpled hulk.
Many on Sulawesi island are still haunted by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake that devastated Palu city in 2018, setting of a tsunami and a phenomenon called liquefaction in which soil collapses into itself. More than 4,000 people were killed, including many who were buried when whole neighborhoods were swallowed in the falling ground.
Indonesia, home to more than 260 million people, is lined with seismic faults and is frequently hit by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. A magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra in 2004 triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)