Strong earthquake triggers panic in western Indonesia

A strong earthquake jolted western Indonesia early Sunday, sending panicked residents fleeing from their homes, officials and witnesses said.

Strong earthquake triggers panic in western Indonesia
The power of the tremor shook telephone and electricity poles and forced the evacuation of at least one hospital.

The 6.1-magnitude quake was centered 175 kilometers (110 miles) from Bengkulu, a coastal town on Sumatra island that has been hit by a series of tremors in recent months, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

It had a depth of just 10 kilometers (six miles) beneath the ocean floor, the agency said, but did not trigger a tsunami and there were no immediate reports of injuries.

"It was very strong ... even utility poles were shaking," said Dina Ramadani, a resident in Bengkulu, adding that people started screaming after one pole toppled over and crashed into a street.

Some ran to high ground, fearing a tsunami. Worried about aftershocks, officials at one hospital in Jambi province told all patients to temporarily leave the building. Some were being treated outside.

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

In December 2004, a massive earthquake struck off Sumatra 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.

Two months ago, an 8.4-magnitude quake off Bengkulu that was followed by two tremors measuring 7.8 and 7.1 killed 23 people and destroyed thousands of buildings. The region has since been hit by hundreds of aftershocks.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Kasım 2007, 15:09