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Indonesia

Three killed in Indonesia’s Java after latest 6.0-magnitude earthquake, which sent panic through IMF summit in Bali

The tremor struck after a 7.5-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami struck off the Indonesian island of Sulawesi last month – around 1,000km northeast of the latest quake’s epicentre – killing more than 2,000 people

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 October, 2018, 8:01am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 October, 2018, 9:21pm

An earthquake on Thursday killed three people in Indonesia and rattled hotels where International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegates were attending a major summit, a fortnight after a quake-tsunami killed more than 2,000 elsewhere in the archipelago.

The 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia’s Bali and Java islands in the early hours, jolting residents awake and sending them rushing into the streets.

Some attendees in Bali for the IMF and World Bank annual meetings this week evacuated their hotels as the quake shook the island.

“I felt the quake for at least 30 seconds and I panicked. At first I didn’t want to go out but then I decided to leave,” said Katharina Sudiyono, an Indonesian attendee at the summit.

Peter Jacobs, head of the Indonesian Central Bank’s IMF-World Bank taskforce, said delegates in Bali’s Nusa Dua district for the summit were quickly informed of the situation.

“Many summit participants woke up and asked questions, but we immediately sent out information to them that there had been an earthquake and the impact in Nusa Dua,” he said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries in Bali and the summit proceeded on Thursday uninterrupted.

Death toll in quake-hit Indonesia passes 2,000 as searches called off

“We send our condolences to those affected by the earthquake. Here in Bali, the earthquake has not caused significant damage nor any disruption to the meetings,” an IMF spokesman said.

The conference centre was designed to withstand seismic events, and participants had been told to remain there in the event of a quake.

In case of tsunami risk, attendees would be evacuated to a nearby building.

Holidayers in the island’s popular tourist districts also rushed into the streets as buildings swayed.

“Wow, that was really strong and it lasted a long time,” said one woman who took refuge in a hotel parking lot in Nusa Dua, a few kilometres from where the IMF and World Bank are holding their meetings.

Others in Nusa Dua, south of Bali’s main international airport, also panicked.

“The quake was very big. I immediately woke up and took my little kids out of the house,” Ni Komang Sudiani said. “All my neighbours were also running.”

Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of Indonesia’s geophysics agency who was also in Nusa Dua for the IMF summit, said no tsunami warning was issued.

“I felt the quake too,” she said. “We are also still gathering data from our team in East Java.’

In East Java, three people were crushed to death in their sleep when the quake brought down buildings in Sumenep district and sent people fleeing their homes.

“Everybody panicked and the entire village ran outside. We have never experienced an earthquake as strong as last night,” said Zainurrohman, a 21-year-old from the district. “We stayed outside until dawn.”

The tremor’s epicentre was in the Bali Sea around 40km off the eastern end of Java island, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The tremor struck after a 7.5-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami struck off the Indonesian island of Sulawesi last month – around 1,000km northeast of the latest quake’s epicentre – killing more than 2,000 people.

Thousands more remain missing since the twin disaster ravaged the city of Palu and surrounding areas. The search for the dead is expected to end Thursday.

A string of earthquakes in Lombok in eastern Indonesia killed more than 550 people over the summer.

Indonesia, one of the most disaster-prone nations on earth, straddles the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide and many of the world’s volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.