Powerful earthquake hits Indonesia

(Photo: NBC News)

A 6.2-magnitude earthquake rocked Indonesia’s Sulawesi island early Friday killing at least 34 people and injuring hundreds more.

Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency said the epicenter of the quake, which struck at 1:28 a.m. Jakarta time, was six kilometres (3.7 miles) northeast of Majene city at a depth of 10 kilometres (6.2 miles).

The country’s National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) said thousands of residents fled their homes to seek safety. The earthquake damaged at least 300 houses in Majene.

Other buildings were also badly damaged; including a military command office in Majene, and hotels, and government buildings in the neighbouring Mamuju area. Many people are still trapped under collapsed buildings, according to local search and rescue teams.

“Our priority is saving victims who are still buried under the buildings,” Safaruddin Sanusi, head of West Sulawesi’s Communications and Information Department, told CNN. “For example in the [West Sulawesi governor’s office] we are still trying to evacuate two security guards who are trapped inside.”