Quake hits near Indonesia's Aceh, at least 3 dead

Source:Reuters.com Author:Adhityani Arga & Fit Date:03/25/14 Click:

A 7.5 magnitude quake struck off Indonesia's Aceh province on Wednesday killing at least three people and damaging buildings on the nearby island of Simeulue, a local official said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake's depth was 34 km (21 miles) and that it occurred at 3:08 a.m. EST. No local tsunami warning was issued.

The epicenter was about 310 km (190 miles) south-southeast of Banda Aceh, the provincial capital of Aceh province, which was hit by a devastating tsunami in 2004. More than 170,000 people died or went missing in Aceh in the tsunami.

Three bodies have been recovered from the rubble of collapsed houses on Simeulue, a small island close to the quake's epicenter, said Bobby Satria, head of the local rescue team's secretariat.

He told Reuters that 25 people had been injured in the quake, while scores of people on the island have left their homes.

A Reuters witness in Banda Aceh said that strong tremors were felt in the provincial capital for over a minute. People rushed out onto the streets in panic, he said.

Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency said the quake measured 6.6 on the Richter scale. The agency recorded at least two aftershocks in the same area about 20 minutes after the first tremor, one measuring 5.5 and the other 5.3 on the Richter scale.

Budi Waluyo, the agency's head of early earthquake warning, said the quake was felt strongly in Meulaboh, in Aceh, and Gunung Sitoli on Nias island.

"An earthquake of 6.6 can damage houses," Waluyo told Reuters.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a tsunami watch for Indonesia but said that a destructive widespread tsunami threat did not exist based on historical earthquake and tsunami data.

Indonesia suffers from frequent earthquakes. The archipelago lies on an area of intense seismic activity where a number of tectonic plates collide.

(Reporting by Adhityani Arga and Fitri Wulandari; Editing by Sugita Katyal and Sara Webb)

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