Hundreds evacuated in west Indonesia after magnitude 6.1 earthquake

People gather outside their homes following an earthquake off Indonesia's Mentawai Islands in West Sumatra on Sept 11, 2022. PHOTO: AFP
People gather in a temporary shelter at the Muara Sikabaluan village in West Sumatra on Sept 11, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA - About 200 people evacuated to higher ground after an earthquake of magnitude 6.1 struck islands in western Indonesia on Sunday, causing some property damage, the country’s disaster mitigation agency BNPB said.

The quake in the Mentawai Islands west of Sumatra struck at a depth of 27km and was followed by one of magnitude 5.3 in the same area, authorities said.

There was no danger of tsunami.

One person was injured in the head by falling wood, and a school and health centre were among properties slightly damaged, the disaster agency said.

Mentawai resident Nurjuli Hasanah said the quake felt strong and shook her wooden house.

“Some of (the residents) are still in an evacuation shelter and some have gone back home,” she said.

Also on Sunday, east of the vast Indonesian archipelago, an earthquake of magnitude 7.6 struck the Eastern New Guinea region in Papua New Guinea, reportedly damaging property and spreading panic among residents.

The US Geological Survey, which reported the quake, issued a tsunami warning but subsequently said the threat "has now passed".

It did, however, note that there could still be "minor sea level fluctuations in some coastal areas".

Locals in Madang who spoke to AFP said they felt "very strong shaking". There were reports of damage to buildings.

The quake struck at a depth of 61km, about 67km from the town of Kainantu, the USGS said.

Papua New Guinea and Indonesia straddle the Pacific Ring of Fire, where different tectonic plates of the Earth’s crust meet and create frequent seismic activity, causing them to experience frequent earthquakes.

In 2004, a 9.1-magnitude quake triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including about 170,000 in Indonesia. REUTERS, AFP 

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