Asia Pacific

Indonesia calls off tsunami warning after scare from magnitude 6.8 quake

AP, AFP-JIJI

An earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia’s Java island on Friday, swaying buildings as far away as the capital and prompting national authorities to urge coast dwellers to head to higher ground to avoid potential 3-meter tsunami. In the end, no major damage was reported and the warning was lifted.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the magnitude 6.8 quake was centered 151 km (94 miles) from Banten province off the island’s southwest coast. It said it hit at a depth of 42.8 km (26.5 miles).

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a tsunami warning, watch or advisory after the quake but Indonesia’s authorities issued their own.

“There are some areas at risk of a serious threat of a tsunami that could be as high as three meters,” disaster agency official Rahmat Triyono said. “We’re still waiting for reports about damage” from the quake, he added.

Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, called on people living in coastal areas to move to higher ground but also urged them not to panic while the tsunami alert was in place.

Buildings in Jakarta swayed for nearly a minute during the evening quake. Television footage showed workers and residents running out of high-rise buildings.

Radio and television reports said people felt a strong quake in Banten province and in Lampung province along the southern part of Sumatra island. The temblor caused a panic among residents in several cities and villages, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

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