Jakarta: A strong earthquake of 6.7 magnitude struck off the west coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra island early on Monday, sending residents fleeing from their homes, but no damage or victims were reported immediately. The epicenter was 197 kilometers from Padang, the capital and largest city in West Sumatra province.
‘The shallow 6.7-magnitude earthquake hit at 4:06 am (2109 GMT) at a depth of 21 kilometres (13 miles), with its epicenter 167 kilometers west of the coastal city of Pariaman’, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said. ‘The earthquake was felt for one minute at moderate intensity as people got panic and fled their homes’, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said in an initial report. The tremor was followed by a series of strong aftershocks, according to the Indonesian geophysics agency. Indonesia is located on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, causing it to experience frequent earthquakes.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially said that the earthquake could potentially generate a tsunami affecting the Indian Ocean region, but it soon lifted the warning. ‘Based on the latest report, there is no damage and victims, but we continue monitoring. The jolt was strongly felt in the South Nias island’, Agus Wibisono, Nias’ Search and Rescue office head said. After the tsunami threat was lifted ‘the people calmed down’, he added.