February 9, 2023

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Indonesia was hit by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake and tsunami warnings were lifted

JAKARTA (Reuters) – A 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia on Tuesday off the Tanimbar Islands, sending panicked residents in the area to flee their homes, although a tsunami warning was lifted three hours later and initial reports indicated limited damage.

The Tanimbar Islands are a group of about 30 islands in the Maluku province of eastern Indonesia.

At least four aftershocks were reported after the powerful earthquake, which was also felt in some parts of Northern Australia.

Indonesia’s disaster agency officials said that at least 15 homes and two school buildings were damaged, and one person was injured, after people felt the quake forcefully for 3-5 seconds.

The country’s geophysics agency said the quake, with a local magnitude of 7.5, occurred at a depth of 130 kilometers at 2:47 am local time (1747 GMT Monday). The tsunami warning was lifted at 5:43 am

BMKG Chairman Dwikorita Karnawati said at a press conference, advising people living near the coast to continue with activities.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) recorded the earthquake’s magnitude as 7.6, after initially reporting it as 7.7. The USGS also pegged it at a magnitude of 7.6.

BMKG said there were four aftershocks, the strongest of which was a magnitude of 5.5.

Indonesia sits atop the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, making it one of the most seismically active regions in the world, subject to frequent earthquakes.

A 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia’s most populous province of West Java last November, flattening homes and killing more than 300 people.

Additional reporting by Ananda Theresia and Gayatri Suroyo in Jakarta and Akanksha Khushi in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Mahler, Ed Davies, and Raju Gopalakrishnan

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