A strong, shallow natural disaster shook Indonesia's Sulawesi island just after midnight Friday, toppling homes and buildings, triggering landslides and killing at least 42 people.
Authorities say at least 826 people were injured, but figures are hard to confirm due to disruptions in communications and a shortage of heavy equipment that is hindering rescue activity.
"We still have no details how many people are buried under those flattened buildings", he added.
A woman says she wants diapers, milk and food delivered for babies and children soon. Still, thousands of people spent the night in the open fearing aftershocks and a possible tsunami.
The quake and aftershocks caused three landslides, cut electricity and damaged bridges to regional hubs such as the city of Makassar.
Other buildings have also been badly damaged, including a military command office in Majene, and the Mitra Manakara private hospital, hotels and government building in the neighboring Mamuju area.
Rescue work has begun with Indonesian Red Cross Team looking for survivors in the rubble and providing them with necessary first aid.
About 15,000 residents have fled to temporary shelters and almost 190 people were being treated for serious injuries, local authorities said.
Some roads were also damaged slowing down the rescue operation.
Meanwhile, corpses were recovered from under a collapsed hospital, while five members of a family of eight were found dead in the crumpled remains of their home.
Aerial images from the devastated seaside city showed buildings reduced to a tangled mass of twisted metal and chunks of concrete, including the regional governor's office.
"It's better to take shelter before something worse happens", said Mamuju resident Abdul Wahab, who took refuge in a tent with his wife and four kids, including a baby.
At least 189 people were seriously hurt and another 637 suffered minor injuries, said Raditya Jati, from Indonesia's National Board for Disaster Management.
In a telegram sent by the Vatican on behalf of Pope Francis, the pontiff expressed "heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this natural disaster".
In the video, the rescuers said an excavator was needed to save them.
The Pope was praying for "the repose of the deceased, the healing of the injured and the consolation of all who grieve".
How many people are still missing?
Straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia is regularly hit by earthquakes.
Indonesia has a history of devastating earthquakes and tsunamis, with more than 2,000 killed in a 2018 Sulawesi quake.
Data from the agency showed Friday's quake was similar to a 1969 natural disaster that triggered a tsunami and killed 64 people in West Sulawesi.