Indonesia issues tsunami warning after powerful earthquake

A powerful earthquake off eastern Indonesia triggered a tsunami warning Thursday and sent panicked residents fleeing from buildings, authorities and witnesses said.

 Indonesia issues tsunami warning after powerful earthquake
A powerful earthquake off eastern Indonesia triggered a tsunami warning Thursday and sent panicked residents fleeing from buildings, authorities and witnesses said.

The magnitude 7 quake struck under the Maluku Sea at a depth of 20 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said on its Web site. Its epicenter was more than 130 miles north of Ternate city.

Indonesia's geological agency issued a tsunami warning that was broadcast on national television.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

Floods on Indonesia's Sulawesi island have spread to three provinces and left 82 people dead, officials said Thursday as torrential rains lashed survivors and hindered recovery efforts.

Many dead

Floods and landslides first hit Central Sulawesi province on Sunday and have left 22 dead and 47 missing, presumed buried under landslides, said Rustam Pakaya, who heads the health ministry's crisis centre in Jakarta.

Rising waters have now also hit North and South Sulawesi provinces, he said, leaving a total of 13 dead.

Some 45,000 people are estimated to be affected in Central and North Sulawesi but no figure was yet available for the southern province, he said.

A navy ship carrying a medical team was headed for Baturube, a coastal village nearest to the areas hit in Central Sulawesi, he said, while teams from Makassar in South Sulawesi were also dispatched to help survivors.

The police chief in worst-hit Morowali district in Central Sulawesi said 20,000 people have registered as fleeing their homes.

Suhartono said that relief aid from Jakarta including medicine, blankets, tents and body bags, had arrived on board a Hercules aircraft in the provincial capital Palu and was being distributed by truck, helicopters and a navy boat.

The Hercules left Jakarta on Tuesday, but was hit by engine trouble then poor weather.

A reporter for ElShinta radio, speaking from Uweruru, one of the villages worst hit by landslides in Central Sulawesi, said search and rescue efforts were continuing without heavy machinery amid heavy rains.

In December 2004, a massive earthquake struck off Sumatra island and triggered a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries, including 160,000 people in Indonesia's westernmost province of Aceh.

Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Temmuz 2007, 14:58
YORUM EKLE