7.3-magnitude earthquake strikes eastern Indonesia

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Dec 14, 2021: A magnitude 7.3 earthquake shook eastern Indonesia on Tuesday, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

The quake’s epicenter was reported north of Flores Island in Indonesia’s eastern Nusa Tenggara province, at around 320 GMT.

The Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency, also known as BMKG, had earlier reported a magnitude 7.4 earthquake and warned of a “possible tsunami”.

No significant damage or deaths were immediately reported from the areas where the quake was felt, but authorities urged caution.

The USGS said the chance of casualties was low, while noting that “recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as tsunamis and landslides that might have contributed to losses”.

Residents reported people running out onto the streets in the a state of panic according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, the quake caused Tsunami alerts to be issued forthe areas of Maluku, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara and Southeast and South Sulawesi, after the quake hit 112 km (69.59 miles) northwest of Larantuka, in the eastern part of Flores, at a depth of 12 km.

A 5.6-magnitude aftershock hit Larantuka after the first quake, according to reports.

Indonesia experiences frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions due to its position on the “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific Ocean. The deadliest earthquake in Indonesia was a magnitude 9.1 earthquake in 2004 that struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 people across the region, including about 170,000 in Indonesia. The Boxing Day disaster was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.

A strong earthquake shook the island of Lombok in 2018 and several more tremors were felt over the next two weeks, killing more than 550 people on the holiday island and neighboring Sumbawa. Later that year, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake and tsunami on the island of Sulawesi left more than 4,300 people dead or missing.

At least 48 people were killed and hundreds injured when Mount Semero volcano erupted on the island of Java on December 4 this year.

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