The damaged houses spread across various villages, including Ranga-Ranga, Gane, Samat, Gaimu, Kuwo, Liaro, Tomara, Tanjung Jare, and Lemo-Lemo. A total of 51 people also suffered injuries following the quake that had hit the district on July 14, the agency's secretary, Ali Yau, confirmed.
Two of the wounded victims of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake, whose epicenter was located 65 kilometers (km) northwest of Labuha, at a depth of 10 km below sea level, suffered grave injuries, he remarked, adding that several houses of worship, including two mosques and a church, got damaged.
As many as 3,104 residents are taking refuge in 15 places, he stated.
In assisting those in disaster-hit areas, Head of the South Halmahera Disaster Mitigation Agency Jalil Efendi earlier confirmed that the agency had declared an emergency response period on July 15-21.
Related news: South Halmahera announces emergency response period on July 15-21
The district government has set up public kitchens to cater to 1,104 refugees in nine disaster-hit areas.
In distributing humanitarian aid to the needy, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has also dispatched an MI-8 helicopter.
According to the agency's spokesman, Agus Wibowo, logistics aid, including tents and other necessities, for evacuees poured in during the emergency response period.
"Other aid, in the form of tents, had also been delivered aboard a Hercules aircraft on Tuesday night," acting chief of the agency's data and information center and public relations, Agus Wibowo, noted in a press statement released on Wednesday.
The BNPB had earlier also dispatched a tanker with relief aid to South Halmahera. The aid was later loaded onto small ships to reach the affected areas.
Situated on the Pacific ring of fire, Indonesia is prone to natural disasters, including earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
During 2018, Indonesia was hit by a total of 11,577 earthquakes, including several of them that caused serious casualties, with the number significantly increasing as compared to that in 2017, Head of the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Dwikorita Karnawati remarked.
Several of the earthquake-related events that occurred in Indonesia last year were never witnessed before, such as the liquefaction in Palu; a tsunami that struck before the issuance of a warning in Palu, and the Sunda Strait Tsunami, she pointed out. Related news: Rapid Reaction Team deployed in South Halmahera
Related news: North Maluku earthquake claims two lives, displaces 1,104 people
EDITED BY INE