Friday, April 12th, 2019

Tsunami warning lifted after strong quake hits off Indonesia

Published 10:15 pm | April 12, 2019

A strong 6.8 magnitude earthquake rocked eastern Indonesia Friday, the United States Geological
Survey said, triggering a brief tsunami warning that sent panicked residents fleeing to higher ground.

The quake struck at a relatively shallow depth of 17 kilometres (10 miles)
off the east coast of Sulawesi island, the USGS said, where a 7.5-magnitude
quake-tsunami around the city of Palu killed more than 4,300 people last

Indonesia’s disaster agency issued a tsunami warning for coastal
communities in Morowali district, where residents were advised to move away
from the coast.

The warning was later lifted by the agency, which had estimated the wave
at under a half a metre (20 inches).

Video footage from Luwuk city showed scared residents — some carrying
children — running from their homes and racing to higher ground on

The USGS warned that considerable damage was possible in poorly built or
badly designed structures.

But it was not immediately clear how much damage was caused by the quake
or if there were any casualties.

Hapsah Abdul Madjid, who lives in Luwuk city in Banggai district, Central
Sulawesi, where the tremor was felt strongly, said people fled to higher
ground and the electricity was cut, adding that residents panicked as fears
soared over an imminent tsunami.

The tremor off the eastern coast of Sulawesi is on the other side of the
island from disaster-hit Palu, where residents still felt the quake despite
being hundreds of kilometres away.

“I ran straight outside after the earthquake — everything was swaying,”
29-year-old Palu resident Mahfuzah told AFP.

– Disaster prone –

Thousands in Palu were still living in makeshift shelters six months after
the late September disaster with at least 170,000 residents of the city and
surrounding districts displaced and entire neighbourhoods still in ruins,
despite life returning to normal in other areas of the tsunami-struck city.

The force of last year’s quake saw entire neighbourhoods levelled by
liquefaction — a process where the ground starts behaving like a liquid and
swallows up the earth like quicksand.

Apart from the damage to tens of thousands of buildings, the disaster destroyed fishing boats, shops and irrigation systems, robbing residents of their income.


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