At least one person has died and another is missing after a strong earthquake struck Indonesia’s remote Maluku islands earlier today, destroying homes and triggering landslides.
Terrified people ran into the streets as buildings fell in around them after the 6.5-magnitude quake hit at around 8:45 local time (0045 GMT).
An official from the local search and rescue agency said one man died after falling off his motorbike while trying to flee to higher ground, while another person was missing after being buried in a landslide.
People in Ambon, a city of about 400,000 people, were seen helping injured residents with blood-stained clothes, while images showed wrecked homes with collapsed walls and rubble strewn on the ground, but the extent of the damage was not immediately clear.
Initial reports said the quake struck offshore, but later analysis found it hit onshore, raising the potential for damage, according to Indonesia’s national disaster mitigation agency.
The Southeast Asian archipelago is one of the most disaster-prone nations on Earth. It experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide.
In August, five people died and several were injured after a powerful undersea earthquake rocked Indonesia’s heavily populated Java island.
Last year, a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island left more than 4,300 people dead or missing.
The force of the impact saw entire neighbourhood leveled by liquefaction — a process where the ground starts behaving like a liquid and swallows up the earth like quicksand.
Nearly 60,000 people are still living in makeshift accommodation nearly a year after the double disaster, the Red Cross said this week.
By Sultan Ambon Photo: AFP / Handout / BADAN NASIONAL PENANGGULANGAN BENCANA Source: Agence France-Presse