Strong quake hits Indonesia, teen boy killed

JAYAPURA (Indonesia) • A powerful earthquake rocked eastern Indonesia yesterday, killing a teenage boy, who fell into a river as he fished, and damaging several buildings.

The 7-magnitude quake struck inland in a mountainous area of Papua in the early hours, almost 250km west of the province's capital Jayapura, the US Geological Survey said.

"The quake was felt very strongly for four seconds," said Indonesian disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. "Residents panicked and rushed out of their homes."

Rescuers were still trying to reach the area closest to the epicentre in Mamberamo district, Mr Nugroho added.

In Jayapura, weak shaking was felt in the city for a few seconds.

One house collapsed and another was partially damaged in Kasonaweja city, not far from the epicentre, while patients were evacuated from a hospital after its walls cracked, said local disaster agency official Yonas Taudufu.

A 15-year-old boy fell into a river where he was fishing and drowned when the quake hit, he said. Local people later recovered his body. A 50m crack also appeared in a road.

The authorities and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no threat of any tsunami.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

A huge undersea quake in 2004 triggered a tsunami that engulfed Aceh province on western Sumatra island, killing more than 170,000 people in Indonesia and tens of thousands more in other countries with coasts on the Indian Ocean.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2015, with the headline 'Strong quake hits Indonesia, teen boy killed'. Print Edition | Subscribe