Almost 100 are dead and hundreds are injured after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake shook the Aceh province in the northern part of the Sumatra Island of Indonesia. Search and rescue efforts continue looking for people trapped under the rubble.

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At least 97 people were killed and hundreds injured following a 6.5 magnitude undersea earthquake that occurred early this morning (Wednesday) in the Aceh province in northern Indonesia. According to reports, dozens of people are still trapped under collapsed buildings.

“The earthquake was felt strongly and many people panicked and rushed outdoors as houses collapsed,” said Sutopo Nugroho from the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency in a statement. “We estimate the number of casualties will continue to rise as some of the residents are still likely [to be] under the rubble of the buildings. The search and rescue operation is still underway.”

Heavy equipment has been brought in to aid search & rescue efforts

Heavy equipment has been brought in to aid search & rescue efforts Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Local news networks showed images of the initial panic on the island following the event: many civilians were evacuated from the rubble as buildings and power lines continued to collapse from the five aftershocks that followed. “There isn’t enough medical staff around,” said a representative from the local Red Crescent to TVOne.

Unfortunately, the Aceh Province is not new to natural disasters given Indonesia’s location in the Ring of Fire – a line encircling the entire Pacific Rim where large geological events occur frequently. Over 170,000 people in Indonesia alone were killed in the 2004 earthquake and tsunami.

At this time, no tsunami warning has been issued. Yet, the people of the Aceh province severely affected by the disaster 12 years ago are fearful of a potential tsunami. “It was very bad, the tremors felt even stronger than the 2004 earthquake…I was so scared the tsunami was coming,” said Musman Aziz to the AP news agency.