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Four killed after quakes hit Indonesia's Sumatra

Earth News: Sumatra

Dec 18, 2006
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Three moderate earthquakes struck Indonesia's Sumatra island on Monday, killing four people in one area including a child and triggering landslides, officials said.
The first earthquake struck at 4:10 a.m. (2110 GMT Sunday) with a magnitude of 5.8. Its epicentre was 128 km (80 miles) under the sea southwest of the city of Banda Aceh, an official from Indonesia's meteorology and geophysical agency said.
The second, which had a magnitude of 5.7, came about 30 minutes later on land at a depth of 53 km in an area northwest of the city of Padang, the official said.
A third quake, of 5.5 magnitude, hit at 8:24 a.m. in North Sumatra, the official said.
Eddy Sofyan, a spokesman for the administration in North Sumatra province, said the quake killed four people -- a child, a teenager and two elderly men -- as well as injuring several others and damaging about 20 houses in the town of Muarasipongi.
Another local official told Elshinta radio that 250 houses were destroyed in Muarasipongi, which is 1,100 km (680 mles) northwest of the capital Jakarta.
Fearing further aftershocks, about 1,000 residents fled their homes and sheltered in tents erected in open fields in the town.
Landslides in two separate areas triggered by the quake blocked the district's main roads, hampering attempts to bring in relief supplies and other aid, Sofyan said. Continued...
Tsunami prediction for Sumatra and the Indian Ocean region has become a priority since the devastating tsunamis of December 2004 and March 2005. In the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jose Borrero of the University of Southern California and colleagues reported on Dec. 4 a new tsunami prediction model based on past behavior of earthquakes and tsunamis in the area. "This is an important study and wakeup call for more action to do something to reduce the risk to coastal populations," says Roland Burgmann, a geologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

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