M7.3 natural disaster hits eastern Indonesia

Clay Curtis
July 16, 2019

A powerful 7.2 magnitude quake in Indonesia's North Maluku province killed two people and damaged dozens of homes, an official from the country's national disaster agency said on Monday. No casualties or major damages have been reported.

Indonesia's meteorology agency recorded Sunday's quake at a magnitude of 7.2 at a shallow depth of 10km on the southern part of Halmahera in the North Moluccas. A woman was confirmed dead in the disaster.

Indonesia's national disaster agency says the land-based quake didn't have any potential to cause a tsunami.

Rahmat Triyono, the head of Indonesia's natural disaster and tsunami center, said the quake was followed by several smaller aftershocks. No tsunami warning has been issued.

At least seven aftershocks stronger than magnitude 5 were recorded following the main quake, BMKG official Rahmat Triyono said in a statement.

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The quake hit hours after a magnitude 6.6 struck offshore Western Australia, south of Indonesia.

Authorities said there was no tsunami risk from the quake, but many people ran to higher ground anyway. "Some people who live near the ocean are starting to move to higher ground", he added.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area known for frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

On 26 December, 2004, a devastating 9.1-magnitude quake struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 across the Indian Ocean region, including around 170,000 in Indonesia. Last year, more than 2,200 were killed in a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island.

The agency is still assessing the level of destruction but said two bridges and about 58 homes in one village alone, Saketa, were damaged.

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