Sumatra Jolted By Earthquake In Western Indonesia

A powerful earthquake jolted the western Indonesian island of Sumatra, killing a 12-year-old boy and sending people streaming from their houses and hotels in panic.

Hundreds of patients from at least one Sumatra hospital had to be evacuated, some in wheelchairs or with infusion, drips still attached to their arms. The U.S. Geological Survey said the 6.6-magnitude earthquake was centered 60 miles southwest of the city of Medan at a depth of 62 miles. It was too far inland to generate a tsunami.

The earthquake hit during the early-morning hours on Tuesday, rattling people from their sleep in towns and villages across the island’s northern tip.

Maura Sakti, the mayor in Subulussalam, said that a 12-year-old boy had been killed by the earthquake. He had no other details about injuries or damage. Residents in Singkil said some of their electricity poles were knocked down, crashing into homes and causing blackouts.

“My wife was screaming, my children crying,” said Burhan Mardiansyah. “We saw our walls start to crack and everything inside the house was falling,” he said of the earthquake.

Marni Aulia, a 32-year-old vendor in Sumatra, said two hours after the quake people were still afraid to go back inside. “We’re worried about the aftershocks,” she said.

Indonesia straddles a series of fault lines that make the vast island nation prone to volcanic and seismic activity. On December 26, 2004, a giant earthquake off the coast of the country triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people.