The Jakarta Post
At least 19 people have died after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake jolted Ambon in Maluku on Thursday morning, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) first reported that the quake was felt at 6:46 a.m. Jakarta time with an epicenter located about 40 kilometers northeast of Ambon at a depth of 10 km. No tsunami alert was issued.
The agency also reported that the quake was followed by a 5.6-magnitude aftershock at 7:39 a.m. Jakarta time, with an epicenter located about 18 km northeast of the provincial capital of Ambon at a depth of 10 km.
The BNPB confirmed that 19 people had died as a result of the earthquake. The victims have been identified as, among others, Narti Rumain, Mateis Frans and Lai Nai, most of whom were crushed by collapsed buildings.
BNPB spokesperson Agus Wibowo added that at least 126 people had suffered injuries following the earthquake.
According to the BNPB, the earthquake damaged several buildings and facilities in Ambon and Malteng regency, including the Merah-Putih (Red-White) bridge, more than 60 houses, buildings of Pattimura University, houses of worship and local administration offices.
Some 2,000 residents of Ambon city and Malteng regency are taking shelter away from their homes.
State-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I said in a statement that Pattimura International Airport in Ambon was operating as usual following the earthquake, with inbound and outbound flights from the airport still on schedule.
“As of 10:48 a.m. local time, we identified a small amount of damage to the airport’s watch room and fire station,” PT Angkasa Pura I corporate secretary Handy Heryudhitiawan said.
State energy giant Pertamina gave an assurance that its fuel storage facilities and gas stations in Ambon and Maluku’s coastal town of Masohi were safe following the disaster, with only a fuel terminal in Wayame, Ambon, suffering minor damage.
“Gas stations continue to operate as normal. Only one gas station in Tulehu village has temporarily stopped operations as it is located close to the earthquake’s epicenter and the people have been evacuated,” Pertamina spokesperson Brasto Galih Nugroho said.
The earthquake caused a temporary blackout in central Ambon and parts of Wayame, Tulehu and Hitu following disruptions to Maluku’s power systems, state electricity firm PLN said in a statement.
As of 1 p.m., electricity had been restored in all affected areas except for Tulehu. PLN said it was continuing its efforts to resolve the issue.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest number of victims who died or were injured in the earthquake, as well as damage to houses and public facilities as of 6 p.m. on Thursday, and with other information. Another edit has been made to this article to update the latest death toll and the number of injured victims, as well as the magnitude of the earthquake as of 6 p.m. on Friday.