Powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.9 strikes Indonesia: State of emergency declared
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
Nature has been very harsh with Indonesia and has hit repeatedly this Southeast nation cruelly.
A powerful and shallow earthquake of magnitude 7.9 struck off the west coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra in South East Asia on March 02. The US Geological Survey said the epicenter was 808 km (502 miles) southwest of Padang, USGS said. It was 10 km (six miles) deep.
The earthquake killed some people, but it was not yet clear how many, an official of the country’s search and rescue agency told Reuters. “There are some who have died,” said Heronimus the agency’s deputy head of operations, without giving details. Telephone communication was down in the regency of Mentawai in Western Sumatra, an area near where a major earthquake struck earlier on Wednesday, an official with the National Search and Rescue agency said.
Indonesia has declared a state of emergency. However, the tsunami warning put out after the earthquake has been lifted hours after.
The shallower a quake, the more likely it is to cause damage. USGS originally put the magnitude at 8.2, and then 8.1, before lowering it to 7.9.
Indonesia had issued tsunami warnings after the earthquake off Sumatra. According to the AP, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology also issued a warning for Cocos and Christmas islands near Australia. The Met Bureau did not advise evacuations, but warned that strong and dangerous currents were possible. People were asked to secure boats and avoid waterfront areas. The Bureau also said that a tsunami had not been confirmed. Reuters later reported that the tsunami warning had been lifted, quoting a meteorological agency official.
Indonesia, badly hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, straddles the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, a highly seismically active zone where different plates on the earth’s crust meet and create a large number of earthquakes and volcanoes.
Rescue and rehabilitation operations are in full swing.