The death toll in Indonesia’s Aceh province passes 100 early Thursday as a massive search for missing people after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake Wednesday has been mounted in flattened parts of the area.
Officials report 102 people have been confirmed dead in Aceh province since the earthquake struck around 5 a.m. Wednesday, 99 of whom were found in Pidie Jaya, the district hit hardest by the quake.
In addition to the dead, more than 600 people were injured and hundreds of houses and buildings were destroyed. Officials fear many more people could be trapped in debris that they have been hurriedly working to move for the last two days.
“We cannot say how many are still trapped under debris,” said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesperson for the National Disaster Management Agency. “But we believe the death toll will still rise. That’s why we have to work quickly — within seven days — because it is a golden time when we believe people are still alive.”
The earthquake struck early Wednesday morning undersea just off the coast of Sumatra, with the worst of it felt in Pidie Jaya. Since the 6.5-magnitude trembler, there have been 36 more aftershocks, and another 4.0-magnitude earthquake occurred Wednesday night.