A massive 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit off Maluku islands in Eastern Indonesia on Sunday, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The earthquake struck the Indonesian islands at 09:10 (local time). So far, the authorities have not issued any tsunami warning even as an aftershock of magnitude 5.8 occurred half an hour later.
"The earthquake was quite strong, sending residents to flee outside, they are panicking and many are now waiting on the roadside,” AFP news agency quoted a local disaster mitigation official Mansur as saying.
Immediately, there were no reports of any casusalities but the authorities were out there assessing the situation, he said. Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide.
Last year, a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island killed more than 2,200 people with another thousand declared missing. On December 26, 2004, a devastating 9.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including around 170,000 in Indonesia.
(With PTI inputs)