4 dead after earthquake hits off Java's island

Updated: Aug 04, 2019, 09:58 IST | Agencies |

Three die of heart attack, and one, fatigue, as people are rushed away from the coastline; over 1,000 displaced

Villagers look at a damaged house in Pandeglang. Pic/AFP
Villagers look at a damaged house in Pandeglang. Pic/AFP

Jakarta: A strong earthquake that hit off Java island killed four people and damaged more than 200 houses, swaying buildings as far away as Indonesia's capital, officials said on Saturday. The US Geological Survey said Friday night's magnitude 6.8 quake was centered 151 kilometers (94 miles) from Banten province off Java's southwest coast. Agus Wibowo, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency's spokesman, said four people died while fleeing in panic to safety in Banten and West Java. Four others were injured.

Wibowo said 223 houses were damaged, mostly in Banten's Pandeglang region, where a deadly tsunami struck in the dark without warning last December. While three people died of heart attacks as the strong quake rocked the region, another person fell to his death while trying to flee his house when the jolt happened, he said. Four more people were injured and more than 200 buildings were damaged, with some 13 houses destroyed, he added. Over 1,000 people, who had earlier evacuated to temporary shelters, returned home after authorities convinced them it was safe to do so, Wibowo said.

"There was thundering noise—it sounded like a plane overhead—and I was just so scared that I ran," said 69-year-old Isah, who like many Indonesians, goes by one name, at an evacuation shelter in Pandeglang. Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide.

The last quake

Last September, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck the island of Sulawesi and triggered a tsunami, causing over 2,000 deaths and leaving 200,000 displaced from Palu and Donggala.

'India not under tsunami threat'

There is no tsunami threat to India following the high-intensity earthquake in Indonesia, a senior official said. According to the National Centre for Seismology, a 6.9 intensity quake hit southwest of Sumatra, at 5.30 pm (IST). "We had issued a tsunami alert. But we have now issued an advisory that there is no tsunami threat to India," said SSC Shenoi, the director, National Centre for Ocean Information.

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