Massive quakes again rattle Sumatra in Indonesia

February 26th, 2008 - 6:48 pm ICT by admin  

Jakarta, Feb 26 (DPA) A series of strong earthquakes rattled the western coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra island Tuesday, destroying dozens of houses, officials said. The latest quake, measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, struck the western coast of Sumatra at 4:02 a.m. local time (2102 GMT Monday), with its epicentre 171 km southwest of Painan, west Sumatra, and 27 km beneath the seabed. A 6.3-magnitude quake hit the region three hours earlier.

Brief tsunami warnings were issued following the quakes, but were lifted soon after when no tidal waves materialized. The warnings caused thousands of frightened residents to run out of their houses.

An official at West Sumatra’s disaster management centre said at least 20 houses and a school building collapsed following the quakes. One person was reportedly injured.

The official said many residents remained on high ground for fear of a possible tsunami.

“They are still scared to return home, fearing a quake will happen again,” she said.

The quake also caused panic among residents of various towns in West Sumatra and Bengkulu provinces, Elshinta radio reported.

Monday afternoon, a quake registering 7.2 on the Richter scale jolted the western coast of Sumatra, prompting authorities to issue a tsunami warning, and late Sunday a 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit Bengkulu and West Sumatra.

On Sep 12, Bengkulu and West Suamtra provinces were hit by an 8.4-magnitude quake that killed more than 20 people, damaging or destroying thousands of homes and other buildings.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, is prone to earthquakes, sitting along the Pacific Ring of Fire, where continental plates collide and earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are frequent.

ON Wednesday, a 7.5-magnitude quake rocked Indonesia’s Aceh province at the tip of Sumatra, killing three people and seriously injuring 25 on remote Simeulue island.

In December 2004, a massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that struck nine Asian nations and killed 177,000 people in Indonesia’s Aceh province alone.

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