25 Oct 2009

Indonesia lifts tsunami alert after powerful quake

7:01 am on 25 October 2009

Indonesia briefly issued a tsunami warning on Saturday after a powerful earthquake struck the eastern part of the country, but the meteorology agency later lifted the alert.

Officials were checking for possible casualties or damage after the quake struck in an area of the Banda sea southeast of the Maluku islands.

The US Geological Survey said the 7.0 magnitude quake struck at 11:40pm local time, 366 kilometres southeast of Ambon at a depth of 138.5 kilometres.

The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the earthquake did not have the potential to trigger a tsunami in the Indian Ocean due to its depth.

Local television reported that people in Papua fled to the hills after the quake, while in Ambon people fled their homes fearing further aftershocks.

The earthquake was felt 700 kilometres away in Darwin, Australia, the ABC reports.

A powerful earthquake measuring 7.6 killed more than 1,000 people in an area around Padang in Western Sumatra last month.