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Asia-pacific

Powerful earthquake strikes off Sumatra

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-16

A strong earthquake struck off Indonesia's Sumatra Island on Sunday, but no tsunami warning was issued, according to the the country's meteorological agency. The tremor injured seven people in the western Sumatra capital Padang.

AFP - Seven people were injured after a strong, 6.9-magnitude quake struck Indonesia's western Sumatra Sunday, an official said.
  
The epicentre of the quake, which struck at 2:38 pm (0738 GMT), was located 43 kilometres (29 miles) southeast of Siberut island off western Sumatra.
  
It was measured at a depth of 32 kilometres.
  
West Sumatra provincial health crisis centre chief Jasmarizal told AFP seven people were being treated in hospital for "light injuries" in Padang city on the west coast of Sumatra.
  
"Five people were injured when an escalator at a mall in north Padang collapsed. Two others were hurt when the fences of their homes gave way. They had light injuries like abrasions on their arms and legs," he added.
  
There were no reports of casualties or damage on Siberut island, Jasmarizal said.
  
"But the residents there had fled to the mountains for safety," he added.
  
The country's geophysics agency's technical chief Suharjono said no tsunami warning had been issued.
  
"It was a sea quake but there's no potential of tsunami. We'll only issue a warning if the magnitude is greater than seven," he added.
  
Earlier, Suharjono said "people panicked in nearby cities, in Padang and Sibolga in Sumatra".
  
"Siberut is not as developed as big cities but at such magnitude, brick houses without strong foundation could collapse," he added.
  
Strong tremors could be felt for 10 minutes in Padang, south Padang city police official Andreas told AFP.
  
"Everyone panicked and ran out of their houses. But the situation is calmer now and people have gone back into their homes," he added.
  
Police in the field were monitoring the situation but "so far, there's no report of damage or casualty yet", Andreas said.
  
Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where the meeting of continental plates causes high volcanic and seismic activity.
  

Date created : 2009-08-16

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