"The Maluku disaster mitigation agency (BPBD) recorded as of 9:53 p.m. local time on Thursday that the death toll had reached 23, 14 of whom are in the Central Maluku District, while thousands others have sought refuge," BNPB spokesman Agus Wibowo noted in a statement here on Friday.
Baca juga: Magnitude-7.0 earthquake jolts N. Maluku
Thousands of residents had yet to return to their damaged homes as a precautionary measure against further aftershocks.
In addition to Central Maluku District, the quake has claimed six lives in Ambon City and three in West Seram District, Wibowo stated.
Over 100 people sustained injuries, most of whom reside in Central Maluku District.
Five people suffered injuries in Ambon City, while one person was injured in West Seram District, he revealed.
A 6.5-magnitude earthquake had rattled Ambon, Maluku Province, on Thursday at 8:46 a.m. local time.
The earthquake was epicentered at 40 kilometers (km) northeast of Ambon, 43 km southeast of Western Seram, and at a depth of 10 km below sea level.
The tremor did not have the potential to trigger a tsunami, but several residents, in a state of panic, fled to a hilly area.
Some 54 aftershocks were felt following the 6.5-magnitude earthquake.
The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has appealed to residents to remain vigilant to possible aftershocks.
EDITED BY INE