KUNDASANG: Many buildings, including Ranau Hospital and the district police headquarters, were damaged by the quake.
There were cracks on two blocks of the hospital, the Ranau mosque, the Maybank building, a teachers' quarters, police quarters, the police headquarters block and a supermarket.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said that buildings and houses between Ranau and Tambunan were also damaged, adding that tremors were felt in 12 districts.
Houses in Kg Kiau in Kota Belud were also damaged.
Doing their part: Several mountain guides at Kinabalu Park preparing to help rescue those still stranded. Tremors lasting about 25 seconds caused panic in Kota Kinabalu with people in high rise buildings fleeing to open ground.
Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman declared Friday a public holiday for civil servants in the Ranau district and urged people to remain calm.
In KUALA LUMPUR, Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said Bukit Aman would send more personnel to help Sabah police.
He said police buildings in Tuaran and Kota Belud also had cracks after the earthquake.
Khalid said all forms of recreational activities near Mount Kinabalu have been halted until further notice.
In PETALING JAYA, Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said the Fire and Rescue Department would monitor all districts surrounding the quake area.
He said efforts were also underway to deal with possible aftershocks to prevent further casualties.
"The earth surface of Sabah is quite complicated and this is making our search and rescue operations difficult, especially in hilly areas.
"However, efforts are being made to ensure that all the people are rescued," he said in a statement.
He said the Fire and Rescue Department had also been asked to include information on facing earthquakes in its programmes.
"It is similar to what they do in Indonesia, and this will help Malaysians to better understand earthquakes and what needs to be done when it happens," he said.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin said people should not listen to rumours but get accurate information.
"There is a lot of news on social media and the public should not spread such unverified information.
"We also urge the people in Sabah, especially in the affected areas, to be cautious and follow instructions of the authorities," he said.
More information is available on the official website of the Meteorological Department at www.met.gov.my which has opened up a 24-hour Earthquake Information Centre. It can be reached at 088-413690 or 088-413691.