Indonesians flee homes after magnitude 7.3 earthquake prompts tsunami warning
Epicentre was north of the island of Flores in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province, where the quake sparked terror.
The earthquake, which struck at 11:20 a.m. local time on Tuesday, was centered in the Flores Sea, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Maumere, one of the largest towns on Flores Island, which is west of Timor-Leste (East Timor).
A magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck eastern Indonesia on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said, with monitors briefly warning of the possibility of hazardous tsunami waves before lifting the threat.
The epicentre was north of the island of Flores in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province, where the quake sparked terror after hitting at approximately 03:20 GMT.
Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency, known as BMKG earlier reported the magnitude 7.4 earthquake and warned of a “potential tsunami”.
“I was in the field. People ran in panic. I am still… scared,” said Nuraini, a resident of Adonara island in the East Flores regency, told the AFP news agency.
Terrified people were shown screaming as they gathered on the street while the earth shook, according to a video obtained by Al Jazeera from Marius Jelamu, a spokesman at the governor’s office of East Nusa Tenggara.
Another video provided by the same source showed a slight increase in the level of water in one coastal area in the province but no major tsunami was reported.
There were also no significant damage or deaths reported from the areas where the quake was felt, even as authorities urged caution.
Indonesia’s seismological agency put the preliminary magnitude of Tuesday’s earthquake at 7.4, down from an initial estimate of 7.5, with a depth of just 10 kilometers. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) put the magnitude at 7.3, down from an earlier reading of 7.6.
A tsunami warning has been issued for nearby coastlines, but there’s no threat of a Pacific-wide tsunami.
Indonesia is on the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes.
A 9.1-magnitude earthquake, one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded, struck off the west coast of Sumatra in December 2004, causing a massive tsunami that struck countries across the Pacific Ocean. At least 227,898 people were killed./BBC