Quake brings school activities to halt in Acehs Pidie Jaya

School activities in the Pidie Jaya and Pidie districts ground to a halt as a result of the strong earthquake that hit the area at 5:04 a.m. on Wednesday.

Head of Pidie Districts Education Service Murthala said most of the schools in the eastern part of Pidie District could not carry out school activities as a result of the quake.

“The school could not carry out their activities, not because they were damaged by the quake but because students did not show up at schools,” he explained.

Murthala noted that he understood the absence of students because the earthquake had caused serious damage. Generally, students did not attend school in the eastern part of Pidie District, which shares borders with Pidie Jaya District.

Murthala confirmed that he had received a report stating that only one school building, belonging to the SD PeukanBaro elementary school, had been damaged by the quake in the region.

“We are continuing to monitor the developments of the earthquake, and if we have new information, we will make it public immediately,” noted the head of the education service of Pidie District.

The worst hit area is Pidie Jaya District, where the epicenter of the quake was located. Tens of buildings are reported to have collapsed and a total of 18 residents were killed, while hundreds of others have been taken to hospitals.

Meanwhile, Head of the Pidie Jaya Disaster Mitigation Office (BPBD) Puteh A Manaf earlier said the earthquake had claimed four lives.

He noted that the earthquake had destroyed several houses and places of worship and at least 30 people were injured.

“Several mosques and other public facilities and houses collapsed due to the earthquake, but we still dont have the exact number of how many buildings were damaged,” he added.

The epicenter of the quake was located at 5.19 degrees northern latitude and 96.36 degrees eastern longitude, at a depth of 10 km, some 18 km northeast of Pidie Jaya.

The tremor occurred at 5:03 a.m. local time and was felt in Pidie Jaya, Pidie, Aceh Besar, Sabang, Bireun, and Lhokseumawe.

“Following the 6.4-magnitude earthquake, there were four aftershocks, but they had no potential to trigger a tsunami. However, the public are advised to stay vigilant against more aftershocks,” Head of the Sabang Meteorology Office Siswanto announced.

An earthquake measuring 5 on the Richter scale is capable of causing considerable damage, while a 6 on the scale can cause severe damage.

The Geology Office said it will send its own team to Pidie Jaya.

Social Affairs Minister KhofifahIndarParawansa is scheduled to visit Aceh as well to see the extent of the damage and provide aid relief to people whose houses have been destroyed, especially in Pidie Jaya.

Source: Antara News