Banda Aceh: A powerful quake with
a magnitude of at least 7.2 hit the Indonesian province of
Aceh today, causing panic in an area that was devastated by
the killer waves of the 2004 tsunami.
Coastal residents fled from their homes and headed inland
fearing a destructive tsunami but officials said no casualties
were reported, although one official said part of a school
under construction collapsed.
The quake hit at 12:59 pm (1089 IST) 66 kilometres
southwest of Meulaboh on the Aceh coast on the island of
Sumatra, according to the local Meteorological and Geophysics
The US Geological Survey put the magnitude at 7.4.
A local tsunami alert was issued by the Indonesian
government but lifted about 90 minutes later.
The people of Aceh are still traumatised by memories of
December 26, 2004, when the Indian Ocean smashed into the
northern tip of Sumatra after a 9.3-magnitude quake split the
seabed to the island`s west.
An AFP correspondent in the provincial capital Banda Aceh
said the ground shook for about three minutes today, sending
people rushing from their homes and heading inland on
motorcycles, cars and trishaws.
"This quake turned out not to be destructive. There`s no
report of damage to buildings, anyone injured or killed so
far," Disaster Management Agency spokesman Priyadi Kardono
"There were many people who panicked and fled their
homes. They were just so afraid that a tsunami would happen
again," he added.
Part of a school building which was under construction on
the tiny island of Simeulue south of Meulaboh has collapsed,
local chief Darmili said, adding that there were no reports of
Indonesia was the nation hardest hit in the 2004 tsunami,
one of the world`s deadliest natural disasters, with at least
168,000 people killed out of more than 220,000 who lost their
lives across the region.