Indonesia quake injures eight, damages houses: Govt

A 5.5-magnitude earthquake struck the Banda Sea near the Maluku islands at 7.22am on Jan 17, 2016.
A 5.5-magnitude earthquake struck the Banda Sea near the Maluku islands at 7.22am on Jan 17, 2016.PHOTO: UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

JAKARTA (AFP) - Eight people were hurt and about 120 houses damaged when a 5.5-magnitude earthquake shook remote eastern Indonesia on Sunday (Jan 17), a government official said.

The earthquake struck at a depth of 46km at 8.22 am local time (7.22am Singapore time) in the Banda Sea near the Maluku islands, according to the US Geological Survey.

Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency said there was no tsunami, but that the quake caused the injuries and damage on a small nearby island. No deaths were reported.

"From the preliminary report we received, the impact of the quake was quite significant in two villages on Ambalau island," said agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Quake-prone Indonesia sits along the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide and cause frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

A huge undersea earthquake in the Indian Ocean in 2004 triggered a tsunami that swamped parts of Indonesia's Aceh province on Sumatra island.

The tsunami killed more than 170,000 people in Indonesia and tens of thousands more in other countries surrounding the Indian Ocean.