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At least 97 dead and hundreds injured in Indonesian earthquake

The province was devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Image: Heri Juanda AP/Press Association Images

Updated 10.05pm

AT LEAST 97 people have been killed in an earthquake in Indonesia.

The shallow 6.5-magnitude quake struck Aceh province, one of the areas worst affected by the devastating 2004 tsunami, at dawn as many people in the mainly Muslim region on Sumatra island were preparing for morning prayers.

“So far 97 people have been killed and the number keeps growing,” Aceh military chief Tatang Sulaiman told AFP after the army took over responsibility for the search and rescue.

“When we retrieve bodies sometimes there’s five, sometimes 10 corpses.”

More than 1,000 soldiers and about 900 police have been deployed to Pidie Jaya district to set up shelters and evacuation points in the worst-hit areas, he added.

Rescuers used excavators and their bare hands to comb the wreckage for people still missing.

Hundreds of houses and shops were levelled by the quake, leaving countless people homeless and in need of basic supplies like food and water, officials said.

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“The electricity is still off. Some places have generators, but there are not many,” local disaster agency head Puteh Manaf told AFP.

“If it rains there will be disease.”

- © AFP, 2016

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