Nearly 100 people have been killed after a powerful 6.5 magnitude earthquake rocked the northern end of the Indonesian island of Sumatra near Banda Aceh yesterday.
According to local military officials, 97 people have died and 500 have been injured.
The quake, which could be felt by people up to 836km away, struck 130km southeast of Banda Aceh around 9.00am Wednesday AEDT at a depth of 20 kilometres.
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Up to 200 buildings have been destroyed and many of the people killed were asleep at the time the quake hit.
— Indonesian Red Cross (@palangmerah) December 7, 2016
Australian not-for-profit aid agency Oxfam said ongoing search and rescue attempts yesterday evening were hampered by nightfall and poor weather conditions.
“Oxfam’s local partners in Aceh have been carrying out emergency assessments; with aftershocks continuing on and reports of serious damage to some buildings and infrastructure, there is not a moment to waste,” Oxfam Australia’s Humanitarian Manager Meg Quartermaine said.
“We will be distributing hygiene kits and tarpaulins, and have emergency response experts on stand-by to travel to the worst-affected areas if needed.
“Our priority now is to get an expert assessment of the earthquake’s impact in order to offer aid in the most appropriate and effective way to those people who are affected the most.
“We are coordinating with local authorities so that our actions are complementary to government agencies.”