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Earthquake jolts Indonesia’s Sumatra Island

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JAKARTA: At least four people have died and 32 were injured when a 6.2-magnitude earthquake rocked Indonesia’s Sumatra Island, with residents shuttling loved ones to safety as buildings crumbled around them.

The local Public Health Center said in a statement on Friday that four people died, including a child.

The quake came just minutes after a less violent tremor as terrified residents had begun evacuating their houses.

Irpanda, a resident of Pasaman city, told local media that he felt both the first, recorded at 5.0 by USGS, and second tremors.

“At first, the quake only lasted for a few seconds. People fled their homes and buildings nearby were swaying,” he said.

“But then another quake happened and it was so strong. More people fled their houses,” he said, adding patients at a local hospital were moved outside.

The quake hit the island’s north at a depth of 12 kilometres (7.5 miles), about 70 kilometres from the town of Bukittinggi in West Sumatra province, according to the United States Geological Survey. 

Indonesia’s meteorological agency BMKG warned people to stay away from slopes over fears of landslides at the peak of the rainy season.

The quake was felt in the neighbouring provinces of Riau and North Sumatra and as far away as Malaysia and Singapore. No tsunami warning has been issued.

Images shared with western media from Pasaman city, near the quake’s epicentre, showed partially collapsed houses with bricks lying on the ground and holes in the walls.

Television footage showed patients being wheeled out of a hospital in West Sumatra’s provincial capital Padang.

“The mayor called and ordered all second and third floors in every building should be vacated,” said Alim Bazar, head of the disaster mitigation agency of Pasaman.

Tremors were also felt in Singapore, witnesses and police said.

The police and emergency services “have received several calls from the public reporting these tremors”, police added.

One Singapore resident said, he felt a slight shake at home which left him dizzy, while state broadcaster local media showed a video of ceiling lamps swaying at a high-rise apartment.

Malaysia’s meteorological department said in a tweet that “vibrations” were felt on the peninsula’s western states.

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