Southeast Asia

After 7.3-magnitude earthquake in Indonesia, tsunami warning lifted

Published : December 14, 2021 16:32 IST

A powerful earthquake struck in the Flores Sea, sending people scrambling from their homes. Photo: Wolfgang Kaehler/Avalon/picture alliance

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had warned of "hazardous waves" after an earthquake struck in the Flores Sea.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center warned of "hazardous waves" after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck 100 kilometers north of an Indonesian town called Maumere in the Flores Sea. The warning was later lifted. "Based on all available data... the tsunami threat from this earthquake has now passed," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said later on December 14. The center added, "Minor sea level fluctuations may occur in some coastal areas."

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the powerful quake was registered at a depth of 18.5 kilometers (11 miles) in the Flores Sea at 12:20pm local time. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had said "hazardous waves are possible for coasts located within 1,000 km (621 miles) of the quake epicenter." The USGS said there was a small chance of casualties from the earthquake. But it added that "recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as tsunamis and landslides that might have contributed to losses."

What happened in nearby towns?

"Everyone ran out into the street," Agustinus Florianus, a resident of Maumere town on Flores island, told Reuters news agency. A 5.1-magnitude aftershock struck in the town of Larantuka on East Flores Island. "We have checked and there are no reports of damage," East Flores district chief Anton Hayon told Kompas TV.

Television channels showed residents escaping the coast on motorcycles and on foot in fear of a tsunami. Tsunami warnings were registered for the areas of Maluku, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara and Southeast and South Sulawesi. An official of the Indonesian meteorology agency, Muhamad Sadly warned people to stay away from beaches for at least two hours, after which the tsunami warning would be lifted. "I was in the field. People ran in panic. I am still... scared," said Nuraini, who lives in Adonara island in the East Flores Regency.

Indonesians have suffered greatly from living on the Ring of Fire, with a 2004 tsunami from a 9.1 magnitude tremor killing 220,000 people in the region, 170,000 from archipelago.

jc, ar/jsi (AP, dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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