‘No casualties from major quake in Indonesia’

Jakarta, March 3 (IANS) No damage or casualty were reported after a 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit the Indonesian island of Sumatra the previous day, officials said on Thursday.

“There’s no report on death toll based on the information from our monitoring team,” West Sumatra Deputy Governor Nasrul Abit said.

The massive quake that struck on Wednesday off the Indonesian island of Sumatra had prompted a tsunami alert which was lifted a couple of hours later, Xinhua news agency reported.

Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climate and Geophysics Agency, said the aftershocks were recorded on Thursday morning rumbling throughout the region, with a 5.8-magnitude at 7.10 a.m. and a 5.3- magnitude at 9.30 a.m.

The agency said people should remain calm and vigilant, as they estimated that the tremors had reduced in force since the major quake which caused a panic among residents in Padang, who were previously traumatised by the 2009 earthquake that killed more than 1,000 people.

“Based on data from these aftershocks we do not believe there will be an earthquake of greater strength,” the agency said.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said the 115 affected areas in five provinces were safe and the residents have been suggested to return to their homes.

The National Search and Rescue Agency also dispatched a ship carrying military personnel, and search and rescue officers to to Tuapejat in the Mentawai islands, which were the closest land to the quake’s epicentre.

The team will check on the situation of the isolated communities.

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