Powerful 7.3 earthquake strikes Indonesia sparking tsunami warning

A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck off Indonesia’s Flores Island on Tuesday, the United States Geological Survey said. The country’s meteorological agency briefly warned that tsunami waves are possible before lifting the threat.

The earthquake hit at a depth of 18.5 kilometers under the sea, and was located 112 km north of Maumere town, which has a population of 85,000, AP reported.

Authorities said that the possibility of casualties was low while noting that recent earthquakes in Indonesia had caused subsequent hazards like tsunamis and landslides, AFP reported.

Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari said that the earthquake was felt strongly by the residents of Maumere town, AP reported. Television footage, accessed by the news agency, showed many residents running away from the buildings.

“There is no damage information yet,” Muhari said. “But the quick reaction team is working to gather the information.”

Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are frequent in Indonesia because it is located on the Ring of Fire in the Pacific Ocean, where there are several volcanoes and fault lines.

Indonesia had witnessed its last major earthquake of magnitude 6.2 in January. At least 105 people were killed and 6,500 were injured in the country’s West Sulawesi province.

The Sulawesi province was also hit by a tsunami in September 2018, killing thousands of people. More than 5,000 people were reported missing.

In 2019, a series of earthquakes had struck Indonesia. In September, a quake of 6.5-magnitude had killed 20 people in Ambon city.

The Ternate town was hit by an earthquake of 7.3-magnitude in July 2019. No casualties were reported.

The 2004 earthquake of 9.1-magnitude, which struck off the coast of Sumatra, is considered one of the deadliest disasters the country has faced. The tsunami triggered by the earthquake had killed 1.7 lakh people in Indonesia.