Quake strikes off Indonesia

A 6.9-magnitude quake struck eastern Indonesia on Friday, the US Geological Survey reported, but there was no tsunami warning issued and no immediate reports of casualties or major damage, reports AFP.

The undersea tremor struck at a depth of more than 600 kilometres (375 miles) about 220 kilometres south of Katabu on the island of Sulawesi, the agency said, with reports that it was felt hundreds of kilometres away from the epicentre in the Banda Sea.

Deep quakes tend to cause less damage than shallow ones and USGS said there was a low likelihood of casualties and damage.

“We have not received any reports of damage so far”, Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency said.

An AFP reporter in Kupang, far south of the epicentre, said buildings swayed as the quake hit, prompting frightened residents to run outside.

The Southeast Asian archipelago experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide.

In 2018, a 7.5-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami on Sulawesi island left more than 4,300 people dead or missing.

A devastating 9.1-magnitude quake struck off the coast of Sumatra in 2004, triggering a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including around 170,000 in Indonesia.