At least 1 dead after strong quake in eastern Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A strong, shallow earthquake struck eastern Indonesia on Sunday, damaging homes and killing at least one person, officials said.
Some people sent the night outdoors as numerous aftershocks rocked the Maluku island chain where the quake was most strongly felt.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.3 quake was centered 166 kilometers (103 miles) southeast of Ternate, the capital of North Maluku province, at a depth of just 10 kilometers (6 miles). Shallow quakes tend to cause more damage than deeper ones.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said Sunday evening on Twitter that a woman had died, while Ikhsan Subur, a local disaster agency official in Labuha, the town closest to the quake’s epicenter, put the death toll at two.
Authorities said there was no tsunami risk from the quake, but many people ran to higher ground anyway. TV footage showed people screaming while running out of a shopping mall in Ternate.
Rahmat Triyono, the head of Indonesia’s earthquake and tsunami center, said the initial quake and aftershocks were also felt in some parts of North Sulawesi province, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage there.
Subur said a police dormitory and several houses of villagers in South Halmahera district, near the epicenter, were damaged.
The disaster agency released photos of some moderately cracked ground and a damaged house of a village police chief in South Halmahera.
With a population of around 1 million, North Maluku is one of Indonesia’s least populous provinces.
Indonesia, home to more than 260 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions due to its location along the Pacific “Ring of Fire.” A powerful Indian Ocean quake and tsunami in 2004 killed a total of 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia.
Last week, a magnitude 6.9 undersea earthquake caused panic in parts of eastern Indonesia and triggered a tsunami warning.