Banda Aceh (Agenzia Fides) - At least 102 people have died and hundreds injured because of the strong earthquake that on December 7 hit the province of Aceh, in the north of the island of Sumatra. According to the latest data of the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB), collected by Fides, the quake severely damaged at least 10,500 houses, 61 mosques and 4 schools. Over 11 thousand people were evacuated. Pidie Jaya, the most damaged area, is located about 120 kilometers east of Banda Aceh, the provincial capital. Rescuers are all concentrated in Meureudu, the city closest to the epicenter. Local television channels broadcast images of destroyed buildings, roads, improvised field hospitals, with people being rescued on the roadside. Many schools were closed, and thousands of children do not have psychological protection and emotional support that the school environment could offer them in this circumstance.
Even Pope Francis expressed his closeness to those affected by the earthquake at the end of the Angelus on Thursday, December 8, with these words: "Yesterday, a strong earthquake hit the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. I wish to assure you of my prayers for the victims and their families, for the injured and for those who have lost their homes. May the Lord give strength to the population and support the relief efforts". (AP) (Agenzia Fides 09/12/2016)