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6.2 magnitude quake strikes Indonesia’s Mantawai islands, scene of deadly 2010 tsunami

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 September, 2017, 3:16am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 September, 2017, 7:33am

A strong 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of western Indonesia early on Friday, US seismologists said, but no tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The quake hit the Mentawai islands in West Sumatra province about 75km southwest of the provincial capital Padang at a depth of 49km , according to the US Geological Survey. The islands were the scene of a more powerful quake and devastating tsunami seven years ago that claimed hundreds of lives.

The disaster agency said officials were checking for damage and casualties.

John Nedy, a resident of Padang, said people fled their homes when the quake struck, and most were reluctant to return for the time being.

“The earthquake was very strong. Some people say it’s safe now to go back to our homes, but most people are still afraid,” Nedy said.

Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity because of its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide.

The Mentawai islands were struck by a tsunami in October 2010 that swept away 10 villages and killed an estimated 700 people. The wave was spawned by a powerful 7.7 magnitude quake.

An earthquake struck the country’s western Aceh province in December 2016, killing more than 100 people, injuring many more and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake hit Indonesia hard, especially the western side of Sumatra struck by this tremor on Friday.