7.3 Indonesia submarine earthquake triggers tsunami warning

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) – Indonesia lifted a tsunami alert on Tuesday following a 7.3 magnitude underwater earthquake that hit Flores Island, triggering panic in a prone region earthquakes that were fatal but apparently caused no major damage or casualties.

According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake struck at a depth of 18.5 kilometers (11.5 miles) below the sea and was located 112 kilometers (74 miles) north of the town of Maumere, the second largest from the island east of Nusa. Tenggara Province with a population of 85,000.

After an initial tsunami warning, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii and later the Indonesian Meteorological Agency raised the alert a few hours after the earthquake.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari said residents of East Flores district felt strongly about the earthquake. Footage showed people fleeing from buildings which shook under the impact.

One person was reportedly injured in the eastern province of Nusa Tenggara.

The shocks were also felt in the town of Makassar and the Selayar Islands district in South Sulawesi province, across the Sea from Flores. The Disaster Mitigation Agency reported that a school was damaged in the Selayar Islands.

Muhari said based on sea level observations, minor 7-centimeter (2.8-inch) tsunamis were detected in the Marapokot and Reo regions.

Dwikorita Karnawati, head of the Indonesian Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency, said residents of the coasts on the north side of Flores should be aware of new earthquakes and a potential tsunami.

“The previous earthquake no longer has the potential for a tsunami. But it is very possible that there will be aftershocks, I hope they will not be stronger than before, ”Karnawati said.

Flores Timur district chief Anton Hayon said no damage was reported.

“We asked people in coastal areas to move away from the beach lines, especially on the north side… because there had been a big tsunami there in 1972,” said Hayon.

He added that residents had participated in a tsunami exercise before and knew what to do.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 270 million people, is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis due to its location on the “Ring of Fire”, an arc of volcanoes and lines of fire. fault that surrounds the Pacific.

The last major earthquake was in January, a magnitude of 6.2 that killed at least 105 people and injured nearly 6,500 in West Sulawesi province.

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