Quake damages hundreds of buildings in Indonesia (Lead)

August 7th, 2008 - 1:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Jakarta, Aug 7 (DPA) A 6.6-magnitude undersea earthquake shook parts of eastern Indonesia Thursday, damaging more than 200 buildings, but there was no immediate report of death or injury, officials said. The quake struck at 5.41 a.m. and was centred 51 km northeast of Sumbawa Island, the Meteorological and Geophysical Agency said.

The quake struck 10 km below the seabed but triggered no tsunami, officials said.

A series of aftershocks followed with the latest, measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale, coming four hours after the quake.

An official at the Dompu district town, about 1,400 km east of Jakarta, said more than 180 homes and other buildings were heavily damaged in the Pukat sub-district, the worst-hit area.

“The homeless residents have now been sheltered at emergency tents on the roadside or in open fields,” said Dimyati, who like many Indonesians uses only one name.

MetroTV reported that in addition to dozens of buildings and schools being damaged in Sumbawa district town, the quake also prompted residents and schoolchildren to flee their homes and classrooms in the fear of being hit by falling debris.

“We have so far received no reports of injuries, and we keep waiting and monitoring for more information on the damage and the victims of the disaster,” Dimyati said, adding that most residents opted to stay outdoors.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, sits atop the Pacific ocean’s “Ring of Fire”, where a meeting of continental plates causes high volcanic and seismic activity.

In December 2004, a magnitude-9.1 quake triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people across the Indian ocean. The waves killed 177,000 people in Indonesia’s Aceh province alone.

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