Indonesia earthquake: 6.8-magnitude tremor hits Talaud Islands near Philippines

Jane Dalton
·2 min read
Evacuees are living in refugee camps after the earthquake that struck Majene, West Sulawesi several days ago (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Evacuees are living in refugee camps after the earthquake that struck Majene, West Sulawesi several days ago (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A powerful earthquake shook parts of the southern Philippines on Thursday night, while people in nearby Indonesia were still clearing up after a devastating quake last week that killed 79 people and left others homeless.

Authorities said the new earthquake was too deep under the sea to cause major damage, and no tsunami warning was issued.

The quake, initially reported as of magnitude 7.2 and later downgraded to 6.8, hit close to the Indonesian Talaud Islands near the Philippines, but it was felt in nearby cities and provinces in the region.

One witness reported to the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): “Lengthy shaking, gradually intensifying.”

Another said: “Swaying motion and our drawers opened. Felt dizzy while it was going on.”

The US Geological Survey said the earthquake was 95.8km (60 miles) below the sea. Deep earthquakes generally cause less damage on the Earth’s surface.

It comes just days after an earthquake of magnitude 6.2 struck West Sulawesi, Indonesia.

A total of 79 people died in the hardest-hit city of Mamuju and 11 in Majene from the quake that struck early on Friday.

More than 30,000 people had to flee from their damaged houses, and nearly 700 others were injured, many with serious injuries, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

Debris still covered streets yesterday and searchers continued to dig in the rubble for more victims in Mamuju and the neighbouring district of Majene on Sulawesi island.

The new tremors near the Talaud Islands hit 234km southeast of Caburan, the EMSC said.

Gareth Fabbro, a Welsh volcanologist working at Caraga State University in the Philippines, more than 300km from the epicentre, tweeted that it was the longest earthquake he had ever felt, with at least a minute of shaking.

The Ilkha news agency posted footage of items hung up swaying.

The remote Talaud islands are in the Celebes Sea, north of Sulawesi, Indonesia, and south of the Philippines.

The southern Philippines region has been battered by powerful earthquakes set off by local fault lines in recent years.

The country lies along the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of faults around the Pacific Ocean where most of the world’s earthquakes occur. It is also lashed by about 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year, making it one of the world's most disaster-prone countries.

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