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6.7-magnitude earthquake hits off Indonesia’s West Sumatra province

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People gather in a tent to avoid aftershocks in West Pasaman, Indonesia’s West Sumatra province on February 26, a day after a 6.2 quake struck the region. Another strong quake struck on Saturday. AFP

6.7-magnitude earthquake hits off Indonesia’s West Sumatra province

A strong quake struck off the west coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra island early on March 14, sending residents fleeing from their homes, but no damage or victims were reported immediately.

The shallow 6.7-magnitude earthquake hit at 4:06am (2109 GMT) at a depth of 21km, with its epicentre 167km west of the coastal city of Pariaman, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The epicentre was 197km from Padang, the capital and largest city in West Sumatra province.

“The earthquake was felt for one minute at moderate intensity as people got panic and fled their homes,” said the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) in an initial report.

The tremor was followed by a series of strong aftershocks, according to the Indonesian geophysics agency.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre initially said that the earthquake could potentially generate a tsunami affecting the Indian Ocean region, but it soon lifted the warning.

“Based on the latest report, there is no damage and victims, but we continue monitoring. The jolt was strongly felt in the South Nias island,” Agus Wibisono, Nias’ Search and Rescue office head said.

After the tsunami threat was lifted “the people calmed down,” he added.

A 6.2-magnitude earthquake rocked Sumatra island on February 25, killing 19 people and injuring hundreds.

In 2004, a 9.1-magnitude quake struck the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 people throughout the region, including about 170,000 in Indonesia.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, causing it to experience frequent earthquakes.

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