Powerful quake stirs panic in east Indonesia

Powerful quake stirs panic in east Indonesia

Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:7PM GMT

A strong earthquake has hit eastern Indonesia, sparking panic in an area that has been rocked by a series of strong tremors in recent days.

The quake had a magnitude of 6.8 on the Richter scale and was centered 41 kilometers below the seabed in the Molucca Sea, the US Geological Survey said on Wednesday.

No tsunami alert has been issues and no casualties or damage reported following the quake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

However, people escaped their homes in the city of Manado, on the northern tip of nearby Sulawesi Island, where the quake was strongly felt.

“I was watching television when I felt the ground shake strongly,” Hendra Pontoh, a resident of Manado, said, adding, “I screamed to my wife to get out of the house and quickly took my five-year-old son, who was asleep in the bedroom, out of the house.”

The quake was followed by three aftershocks, said Jerisman Purba, from the Indonesian meteorological agency.

The quake was the latest in a series of recent tremors under the Molucca Sea.

On Nov 15, a 7.1-magnitude quake triggered a tsunami alert with no casualties or damage being reported. The powerful earthquake rocked the Maluku Islands in eastern Indonesia.

“People in coastal areas felt the strong quake, which lasted for quite some time, and they immediately went to the sea to see if the water was receding abnormally, which is a sign of an incoming tsunami,” a local official said.

On December 26, 2004, a tsunami in Indonesia killed over 170,000 people in Aceh, located in the Northwest of Sumatra Island.

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