Buildings Flattened in Malukus Quake

Buildings Flattened in Malukus Quake

JAKARTA ~ A strong deep sea quake, measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale, hit northeastern Indonesia on Wednesday and damaged or destroyed more than a dozen buildings but there were no immediate reports of casualties, officials said.

The quake struck at 01:32 GMT and was centered near the Maluku islands, 216 kilometers northeast of the North Maluku capital Ternate and at a depth of 74 kilometers.

The quake destroyed three buildings and damaged a dozen others on Morotai island near the epicenter off Halmahera island, but there were no reports of casualties, a district chief said.

“Besides a mosque and a madrassa (Islamic religious school), a polyclinic was also destroyed while the number of houses damaged now stands at 10. Two schools were also damaged, but there was no loss of life,” North Halmahera district chief Hein Namotemo said.

He said no one was evacuated or fled their homes.

“So far, no casualty has been reported in the disaster,” the official Antara news agency quoted Morotai police spokesman Senior Commissioner Ramli as saying.

No tsunami alert was issued.

“There’s no potential for a tsunami,” meteorological agency official Andi Zurfika said.

A 5.1-magnitude deep sea earthquake hit South Sulawesi last Friday, causing minor damage.

The archipelago sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where continental plates meet, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

Indonesia was the nation worst hit by the earthquake-triggered Asian tsunami in December 2004, which killed some 168,000 people in Aceh province.

A 7.7-magnitude earthquake in July on the south coast of Java killed more than 600 people.

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