Indonesia: West Sulawesi Earthquake, Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° MDRID020


A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 occurred in Majene, West Sulawesi Province, on Friday 15 January 2021 at 1:28:17 Western Indonesia Time (or 02.28 WITA, local Indonesia time). The epicenter was located at 2.98 South Latitude and 118.94 East Longitude (or 6 km northeast of Majene-Sulbar). The earthquake did not trigger tsunami warning.

According to the Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), the earthquake was a type of shallow earthquake that occurred due to local fault activity. Monitoring results show there was one foreshock (M 3.1) and six aftershocks with a maximum magnitude of 4.1. The earthquake was felt for about 5-7 seconds quite strongly in Majene district and Polewali Mandar district, causing the local community to panic. There are three districts impacted, in Polewali Mandar the damage reported has been minimal with only minor damage to some public buildings but no loss of lives or totally collapsed buildings. Majene and Mamuju experienced the most damage. In Majene 300 houses, a health center and a military office have been damaged. BPBD Majene advise that there are 3 points where landslides have occurred along the Majene-Mamuju damaging the main road and one bridge which has cut off access between Makassar and Mamuju. However, the road between Palu and Mamuju is safer and can be accessed.

Electricity and communication networks have been temporarily disrupted making it difficult to communicate with Mamuju. It has been reported that people in the affected areas are staying out of their houses in anticipation of aftershocks. It has been reported that the office of the Governor of West Sulawesi and the Maleo Hotel in Mamuju, West Sulawesi were heavily damaged. Furthermore, a major hospital in Mamuju has collapsed. Media reports also suggest that patients and hospital staff are trapped under the rubble of the hospital and that three other hospitals in the district have also been heavily damaged.

Initial assessments have confirmed that 46 people have died in the earthquake and a further 826 people have been injured. About 15,000 people have been displaced to 10 evacuation points in Majene. There are a further 5 evacuation points in Mamuju although the number of displaced in this district is not yet confirmed. It is believed that there are still people trapped in the rubble from collapsed buildings in Mamuju. Heavy damages have been reported by both districts, including the Governor’s office, two hospitals, 25 schools, two hotels, a minimarket, a community health centre, Mamuju Seaport, a bridge, a TNI office and over 300 houses also sustained damages. These figures are likely to rise as damage assessments results become available.

In the early afternoon of 15 January 2021, the Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) indicated that there is still the potential for aftershocks in Majene, which may cause landslides to occur under the sea potentially generating a tsunami. The agency is urging people to stay away from vulnerable buildings and coastal areas.