Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

  • UN backs inquiry of IS group’s alleged crimes in Iraq

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao set for Man Utd loan on transfer deadline day

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

  • Web doc on French self-immolation protests takes top prize

    Read more

Powerful quake kills one, forces thousands to flee

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-11-17

A severe 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck off the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, killing one person and destroying homes as thousands evacuated coastal areas. The country's meteorological agency lifted an earlier tsunami warning.

A strong 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck off Indonesia's Sulawesi island early Monday, killing one person, toppling homes as people slept and forcing thousands to flee houses and hotels.
   
The quake triggered a tsunami warning from US officials for an area within 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) of the epicentre but a similar alert by Indonesia was withdrawn shortly after being issued.
   
Rustam Pakaya, head of health ministry's crisis centre, said a 56-year old man was killed in the village of Kwandang and 23 people injured.
   
He added that houses and buildings had collapsed in Gorontalo province.
   
The US Geological Survey (USGS), which initially estimated the quake had a magnitude of 7.8 before downgrading it to 7.5, said it struck 136 kilometres off the coastal town of Gorontalo at a depth of 21 kilometres.
   
The Indonesian state-run Antara news agency said thousands of people fled their homes and hotel rooms in Gorontalo -- which has a population of several hundred thousand -- when the quake struck about 1:02 am (1702 GMT Sunday).
   
The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center warned that the quake had the potential to spawn a destructive regional tsunami and advised authorities in the region to "take immediate action to evacuate coastal areas."
   
The USGS also reported two powerful aftershocks.
   
An official earlier told AFP that people of Tolitoli, some 250 kilometres away, had also reported collapsed buildings.
   
"In an earthquake like this I think it's likely there will be victims," Indonesian geological official Sutiono said.
   
Indonesia was the country worst hit by the earthquake-triggered tsunami in December 2004 that killed more than 200,000 people in 11 nations across Asia, including over 168,000 people in Indonesia's Aceh province alone.
   
The Indonesian archipelago straddles several continental plates in an area known as the Pacific Ring of Fire, where seismic and volcanic activity is recorded on an almost daily basis.
   
Monday's quake comes less than a week after Indonesia launched a high-tech tsunami warning system in a bid to prevent a repeat of tragedies like that in  2004.
   
The 1.4 trillion rupiah (130.2 million dollar) system is able to detect an earthquake at sea and predict within five minutes whether it could cause a tsunami.
   
The system, built with German technology and funding from a number of foreign nations, will eventually include 23 or 24 buoys linked by cables to detectors on the ocean floor.
   
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said at the launch Tuesday that Indonesia was "living on the edge."
   
"Three tectonic plates -- the Eurasian, Indo-Australian and Pacific -- meet here," Yudhoyono said.
   
"This kind of disaster can strike at any time."

Date created : 2008-11-16

COMMENT(S)