Strong quake jolts Indonesia’s Aceh (Lead)

April 7th, 2010 - 1:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Jakarta, April 7 (DPA) A strong earthquake jolted Indonesia’s Aceh province at the northern end of Sumatra Wednesday, damaging buildings and injuring at least a dozen people, officials said.
Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency issued a tsunami warning, but it was lifted more than an hour later after no big waves materialised.

The quake, measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale, struck at 5.15 a.m. (2215 GMT Tuesday) with its epicentre 75 km south-east of Sinabang on Simeulue island off the western coast of Aceh province. It occurred 34 km beneath the seabed, the agency said.

The US Geological Survey put the quake at 7.7 on the Richter scale.

The quake triggered blackouts in Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh; in other regions in the province; and in the North Sumatra capital of Medan, local media reported.

The quake, followed by at least five aftershocks measuring up to 5.2, triggered panic among residents in a number of cities across Aceh.

On Simeulue, the fleeing residents remained outdoors and on higher ground for several hours, fearing aftershocks and a tsunami, the state-run Antara news agency reported.

Dozens of houses collapsed or were damaged in the Teupah Selatan sub-district, the hardest-hit area on Simeulue, while many power poles also collapsed, knocking out electricity on the island.

“At least 12 people were injured, including four in critical condition, and they were treated at a local hospital,” said Anang, an official.

He said the injured were hit by falling electrical poles, roof tiles and broken glass.

It was the latest in a series of earthquakes to hit Aceh in recent months.

A magnitude-9.2 quake struck in December 2004 off Aceh and caused a tsunami that spread death and destruction across the Indian Ocean. More than 170,000 people died or went missing in Aceh alone.

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