A 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Indonesia on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey said, causing panic, but no deaths or major damage were reported.
The epicenter was in the Flores Sea, north of the eastern province of Nusa Tenggara, where the earthquake sparked terror after hitting late in the morning (03:20 GMT).
“I was on the ground. People panicked. I’m still … scared,” said Nuraini, a resident of Adonara Island in the Flores Est regency.
No significant damage or fatalities were immediately reported, but Indonesian authorities called for caution with more than a dozen smaller aftershocks detected.
One person was injured in Manggarai, in eastern Nusa Tenggara, and a school building was damaged on Selayar Island, National Disaster Agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari said in a statement. .
The impact of the earthquake was still being assessed, he added.
The intensity of the tremors sparked panic in many areas, with videos from some towns and villages shared on social media showing people running outside, some holding young children.
The streets were blocked with traffic as vehicles tried to leave for safe places.
The USGS has placed the epicenter at a depth of 18.5 kilometers (11 miles), about 100 kilometers north of the island town of Flores de Maumere, home to more than 80,000 people, where the earthquake affected the coronavirus inoculations.
“People were getting vaccines when the earthquake hit. They panicked,” said Yulius Tara, a resident of Maumere.
“There were over 200 people … and the (vaccination) event stopped because of the earthquake.”
Thousands of people in Maumere have sought refuge in the heights, fearing a tsunami.
“We will stay here … because we are afraid of aftershocks,” said Husri Tamrin.
“It was strong”
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the quake no longer posed a tsunami threat after previously warning that such waves were possible within a 1,000-kilometer radius of the epicenter.
Indonesian authorities have also lifted their tsunami alert.
“I was checking my phone when the earthquake hit. I felt it for 30 seconds. It was strong,” said Alwan, a resident of Buton in southeast Sulawesi, one of the areas where the tsunami warning has been issued.
Indonesia experiences frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions due to its position on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, an arc of intense seismic activity where tectonic plates collide that stretches from Japan to the Southeast Asia and across the Pacific Basin.
Among the history of the deadly earthquakes in Indonesia is a devastating 9.1 magnitude earthquake in 2004 that struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 people across the region, including an estimated 170,000 in Indonesia.
The Boxing Day tragedy was one of the deadliest natural disasters in history.
In 2018, a powerful earthquake shook Lombok Island and several more tremors followed over the next two weeks, killing more than 550 people on Holiday Island and neighboring Sumbawa.
Later that year, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Palu on the island of Sulawesi left more than 4,300 dead or missing.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)