Selasa, 06 Januari 2009

Strong earthquake rocks Indonesia

Map of Indonesia

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 has rocked eastern Indonesia, US seismologists say.

The tremor struck south-west of Manokwari, West Papua province, at 0443 on Sunday (1943 GMT), according to the US Geological Survey.

The AFP news agency reported that a 10-year-old girl was killed and dozens of people were injured after the tremors.

The Indonesian archipelago lies over several continental plates where seismic activity happens regularly.

Tsunami alert withdrawn

A tsunami alert was issued by Indonesian authorities following the earthquakes, but withdrawn within an hour.

Hasim Rumatiga, a local health official, told Associated Press electricity went off and residents ran to higher ground.

A policeman said without power it was difficult to check for damage in Manokwari, the seaside capital of the province, AFP news agency reported.

He said the police and military had been helping people get to higher ground.

The BBC's Lucy Williamson said eyewitnesses described crowds of people in Manokwari running terrified through the streets as the town was hit by a string of powerful aftershocks.

An official with the aid organisation World Vision said ten buildings had been totally destroyed, including several hotels and the house of a government official.

The official also said dozens of people were being treated for serious injuries. Assessment teams and medical supplies are expected to arrive in the next 24 hours.

Hotel collapse

The initial tremor was followed by aftershocks, including one with a magnitude of 7.5, local seismologists said.

The tremors also caused a hotel in Indonesia's West Papua province to collapse.

Officials said three people, who had been staying at the Mutiara hotel in the city of Manokwari, were pulled alive from the rubble and taken to hospital.

Japan's Meteorological Agency told Reuters news agency the earthquake also triggered a small tsunami which hit the Japanese coast, but did not cause any damage.

A huge quake off western Indonesia on 26 December 2004 caused a massive tsunami that killed around 230,000 people around the region