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Earthquake on Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island leaves thousands homeless as recovery begins

A soldier helps a boy put on a face mask during an event to mark the transitional period of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in East Jakarta on June 26. The boy was with his father (back, left), who was found violating PSBB measures and ordered to sweep the area as punishment. (JP/P.J.Leo). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

JAKARTA, Jan 19, 2021, AP. Relief workers have begun clearing the rubble of collapsed buildings on an Indonesian island where a deadly earthquake left thousands of people homeless, ABC News reported.

The 6.2 magnitude earthquake killed at least 84 people and was one of multiple recent disasters in Indonesia.

President Joko Widodo visited a flood-hit area on Borneo island on Monday and was scheduled to visit the quake-hit areas of West Sulawesi province to reassure people the Government’s response was reaching those struggling after the quake.

The National Search and Rescue Agency counted at least 30,000 survivors who have moved to shelters in the city of Mamuju and its neighbouring district of Majene in West Sulawesi, as the Government and aid agencies pooled efforts to meet the survival needs of shaken communities.

Four days after the disaster, the streets of the provincial capital Mamuju were still covered in debris and most people have slept outdoors, fearful their homes would crumble if strong aftershocks come.

Sniffer dogs were again used in the search for bodies and possible survivors in Mamuju, a city of nearly 300,000 people, strewn with debris from collapsed buildings.

The governor’s office building was almost flattened and a shopping mall was reduced to a crumpled hulk.

Before he arrived in Mamuju, Mr Widodo mobilised military and police to support rescue and relief operations.

The President had travelled to flood affected areas in South Kalimantan province on Borneo, the island known for rainforests and orangutans where floods since last week have inundated several regions.

The floods killed several villagers and forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.

Floods were also reported in many other provinces in the vast archipelago nation.

Mr Widodo said rainfall caused the floods in South Kalimantan, but environmentalists blame deforestation by mining, palm oil and agricultural industries.

The quake and flood disasters follow a deadly landslide in West Java on January 9 that left 40 people buried in tons of mud.

Indonesia, home to more than 260 million people, is lined with seismic faults and is frequently hit by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

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