Quakes predicted in W Sulawesi in 2019: BNPB

Quakes predicted in W Sulawesi in 2019: BNPB

Backhoes clear debris in the aftermath of a 6.2-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mamuju, the capital of West Sulawesi province, on January 15, 2021. (ANTARA FOTO/Akbar Tado/foc)

Mamuju, W Sulawesi (ANTARA) - Large-scale earthquakes had been predicted in West Sulawesi as early as 2019, but there was no precise data on when they would strike, National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) head Doni Monardo revealed on Wednesday.


To avoid mass casualties, Monardo urged the province's residents to remain alert, but calm if another strong earthquake strikes at an unpredictable time and day in the future.


On January 15, 2021, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake, followed by several aftershocks, had rattled the districts of Majene and Mamuju in West Sulawesi province, claiming 90 lives.


"We do not know precisely when the large-scale earthquake will recur," Monardo told participants of a coordinating meeting on post-disaster mitigation efforts in Mamuju, the capital of West Sulawesi.


One of the mitigation efforts that locals could undertake collectively is not residing in quake-prone buildings, he said, adding that experts' opinion is needed to evaluate the quality of buildings in West Sulawesi's disaster zones.


Almost all parts of Indonesia can be potentially rattled by earthquakes of minor, moderate, or major magnitude, except the island of Kalimantan, he observed.


In connection with mitigation efforts for the January 15, 2021 earthquake, Monardo appealed to volunteers from both humanitarian and government agencies to assist those affected by the catastrophe.


In carrying out the humanitarian mission, volunteers must remain cautious of any potential spread of the novel coronavirus infection, he said.


"We have provided 500 thousand face masks for them all. I hope these face masks are not just stored, but are distributed and used effectively," he added.


Meanwhile, according to the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), the death toll in West Sulawesi's earthquake increased to 90 as of Tuesday.


The death toll could likely rise because three people reportedly remain missing. Their bodies are believed to have been buried under sliding debris and materials, Basarnas preparedness director Didi Hamzah said earlier.


As of Tuesday (January 19, 2021), Basarnas' search for quake victims covered 20 points, spreading over the four villages of Binanga, Rimuku, Karema, and Simboro, he informed. (INE)

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