10/25/2007, 00.00
INDONESIA
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Panic in Sumatra after a strong undersea quake

by Mathias Hariyadi
A quake with a magnitude of 7 on the Richter scale triggered the Tsunami warning system which has since been revoked. Hitting in the middle of the night it forced thousands to flee inland. It is the latest in a series of aftershocks and movements following last month’s earthquake.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – A powerful earthquake registering 7 on the Richter scale the rocked western Indonesian island of Sumatra in Bengkulu before dawn, jolting people from their sleep and sending them fleeing by car and foot, to higher ground, in fear of a tsunami. The killer wave alarm was immediately recalled but the situation remains chaotic and many are still frightened.  Iin, a local inhabitant told AsiaNews, that “The atmosphere is scary and everyone looks to be very afraid of this potential tsunami quakes”.

 

According to Jakarta-based Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG), the epicentre is situated at least 166 kilometres southwest of North Bengkulu with the depth of 10 ceilometers beneath the surface. But the epicentre is situated in the territory, not in the ocean. So far there are no reports of injuries or material damage.

 

Suhardjono, a senior official at the Meteorological and Geophysics Agency said the 4 a.m. quake was part of a series of aftershocks that have rattled the region since Sept. 12, when an 8.4-magnitude killed 23 people and destroyed thousands of buildings. Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago with a population of 235 million people, is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

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