At least 54 people were killed after a powerful 6.5 magnitude undersea earthquake rocked Aceh province, on the north-west tip of Sumatra island in Indonesia.

Several buildings collapsed following the earthquake and many people are reportedly still trapped under the debris. Major General Tatang Sulaiman was quoted as saying that 52 died in Pidie Jaya, the district closest to the epicentre of the earthquake.

The number of those killed would rise as rescue operations continue. The earthquake struck at 5am local time on Wednesday, 7 December (10pm GMT on Tuesday).

"Several mosques, other public facilities and houses collapsed due to the earthquake, but we still don't have the exact number of how many buildings damaged," said Puteh A Manaf, chief of the local disaster management agency in Indonesia.

The epicentre of the quake was about 10km north of Reuleut in Banda Aceh at a depth of about 17.2km, officials said, but did not issue any tsunami warning. The earthquake was followed by at least four aftershocks.

Images posted on social media show several buildings reduced to rubble.

"Several shophouses and homes have caved in Pidie Jaya district and the owners are still trapped there. We are now deploying heavy machines to help out and hopefully we can save the ones who are trapped," Apriadi Achmad, the head at the local disaster management office told AFP.

Indonesia is frequently hit by strong earthquakes as it sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" – a region which is in constant danger of volcanoes and earthquakes.

Indonesia earthquake
A collapsed mosque minaret is seen after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck the town of Pidie, Indonesia's Aceh province in northern Sumatra ZIAN MUTTAQIEN/AFP/Getty Images