Quake triggers Indonesia tsunami warning

A powerful earthquake struck western Indonesia today, prompting tsunami warnings from international agencies.

A powerful earthquake struck western Indonesia today, prompting tsunami warnings from international agencies.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injury after the quake, which the US Geological Survey said had a preliminary magnitude of 7.6, and struck under the island of Simeulue off the western coast of Sumatra.

It was not immediately possible to contact anyone on the island, which is home to around 75,000 people.

Minutes after the quake hit, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a bulletin saying parts of the Sumatran coast closest to the epicentre were at risk of a possible tsunami.

Japan’s meteorological agency said India’s Andaman and Nicobar island chain was also at risk.

The quake was felt across much of western and northern Sumatra island, witnesses said.

Many people fled their homes, but there was no immediate reports of damage or injury.

“Everything shook very strongly for more than a minute and I ran along with the others. I heard people screaming in panic,” said Aceh resident Ahmad Yushadi.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago with a population of 235 million people, is prone to seismic upheaval because of its location on the ’Ring of Fire’, an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

The fault that ruptured today off the coast of Sumatra is particularly deadly.

A magnitude-9 quake there in 2004 triggered the St Stephen's Day tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them on Sumatra.

Three months later, an 8.7 quake further down the fault killed 1,000 on the islands of Nias and Simeulue.

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