Quake hits off Indonesia coast; no major damage reported
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian authorities lifted a tsunami alert issued after a strong earthquake that hit off the coast of Java island Friday, swaying buildings as far away as the capital and rattling nerves in coastal areas but not causing widespread damage.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported the magnitude 6.8 quake was centered 151 kilometers (94 miles) from Banten province off the island’s southwest coast. It said it hit at a depth of 42.8 kilometers (26.5 miles).
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a tsunami warning, watch or advisory after the quake. Indonesian authorities, however, issued their own before lifting it two hours later when no wave materialized.
Authorities had called on people living in coastal areas to move to higher ground but not to panic.
Buildings in Jakarta swayed for nearly a minute during the evening quake. Television footage showed workers and residents running out of high-rise buildings.
Radio and television reports said people felt a strong quake in Banten province and in Lampung province along the southern part of Sumatra island. The temblor caused a panic among residents in several cities and villages.
The quake brought back bad memories in Banten’s Pandeglang region, which encompasses Unjung Kulon National Park and popular beaches, and is where a deadly tsunami struck in the dark without warning last December.
That tsunami followed an eruption and a possible landslide on Anak Krakatau, one of the world’s most famous volcanic islands, about 112 kilometers (69.5 miles) southwest of Jakarta. The waves killed at least 222 people as they smashed into houses, hotels and other beachside buildings along the Sunda Strait.
Irna Narulita, the Pandeglang district chief, said at least 22 houses collapsed in the region after Friday’s quake, and most people remained outside due to fear of aftershocks. She said villagers in Sumur, the village hardest hit by the tsunami in December, chose to stay on a hill even after the tsunami alert was lifted.
She said no serious injuries were reported so far.
The National Disaster Agency spokesman, Agus Wibowo, said they were still gathering information of the damage and injuries. Local television footage and online video showed several houses and buildings in Banten, including a sport stadium and hospitals, suffered minor damage.
After the quake hospitals in West Java’s cities of Bogor, Ciamis and Cianjur evacuated patients, some attached to intravenous drips, to the hospital grounds, television footage showed.
This story has been corrected to show the volcanic island is spelled Anak Krakatau.