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Strong quake rocks waters off Simeulue in Indonesia, one killed

Publication Date : 26-07-2012


A powerful earthquake jolted Simeulue island in Aceh province of Indonesia early yesterday, killing one man and sending panicked residents fleeing from homes. No tsunami was generated.

The magnitude 6.4 quake hit about 7:30 a.m. and was centred 28 kilometres northwest of Simeulue regency's capital of Sinabang at a depth of 45 kilometres (28 miles), according to the US Geological Survey.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho from the National Disaster Management Agency said a 70-year-old man who suffered from hypertension died as he fled in panic and fell down, but there no other casualties were reported.

Twenty buildings were damaged, including mosques, public health centres, schools and local government offices, the agency said.

Suharjono, from Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency, said the earthquake had no potential to generate a tsunami. He said a quake that close to the coast would have to be more powerful to generate a giant wave.

Residents of Sinabang said the quake struck as people gathered for pre-dawn meals and prayers during the fasting month of Ramadhan.

"For a few seconds, a strong earthquake shook everything around us," said Ahmadi, a trader at the town's market. "Everybody ran out of their homes ... many screaming in panic, but there was no damage around us," he said as quoted by AP.

The panic extended to several towns and villages in Aceh's neighbouring province of North Sumatra. Fearing aftershocks, many refused to go back inside for hours.

A giant quake on Dec. 26, 2004, triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people, half of them in Aceh.

Separately, a major flood struck Padang, West Sumatra yesterday evening, forcing 1,200 people to flee. Ten people who were reported missing have been found.

"The number of evacuees at disaster preparedness shelters reached 1,200 in two locations — one in Limau Manis district and another Bandar Gadang. Some of them have returned home," Nugroho said yesterday.

The waters had subsided as of yesterday, he said, adding that his agency had provided flood victims with logistical assistance.

Sjofiardi Bachyul contributed to this article from Padang.


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