Powerful quake strikes off Sumatra island

September 30th, 2009 - 6:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Jakarta, Sep 30 (DPA) A strong undersea earthquake measuring at 7.6 on the Richter scale struck off the western coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra island late Wednesday afternoon, sparking panic among residents, seismologists and television reports said.
Metro TV reported from Padang, the capital of West Sumatra, that several buildings collapsed, but did not give further details.

The quake struck at 5:16 p.m. at a depth of 71 km, about 57 km south-west of Pariaman on West Sumatra province, Indonesia’s National Meteorological and Geophysics Agency (BMG) said.

The quake was also felt strongly in North Sumatra and Riau provinces, residents told Metro TV.

“People ran out of their houses in panic. Many are still outside,” a resident in North Sumatra told Metro TV.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” the edge of a tectonic plate prone to seismic upheaval.

A major earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck in December 2004, leaving more than 170,000 people dead or missing in Indonesia’s Aceh province and half a million people homeless.

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