BBC – Strong earthquake rocks Indonesia

by Jon Thompson on January 3, 2009

Tragically, the year is getting off to a busy start.  The BBC has the latest:

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 has rocked eastern Indonesia, seismologists say.

The tremor struck south-west of Manokwari, West Papua province, at 0443 on Sunday (1943 GMT), the US Geological Survey said.

Residents ran outdoors and to higher ground, but a tsunami alert was withdrawn within an hour.

The Indonesian archipelago lies over several continental plates where seismic activity happens regularly.

While the local seismology agency said the quake had a magnitude of 7.2, the US Geological Survey put the quake at a stronger 7.6.

Hasim Rumatiga, a local health official, told Associated Press that electricity went off and residents ran to higher ground.

A policeman said that without power it was difficult to check for damage in Manokwari, the seaside capital of the province, AFP news agency reported.

He added that the police and military had been helping people get to higher ground.

A huge quake off western Indonesia on 26 December, 2004 caused a massive tsunami that killed around 230,000 people around the region.

Read on…

UPDATE:  Here is the latest from the BBC.

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