Jakarta, April 12 (IANS) A powerful quake of 6.8 magnitude rocked off Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province on Friday, the country’s meteorology and geophysics agency said, triggering a tsunami warning that forced panicked people to evacuate their homes.
The tsunami warning was later lifted as giant waves did not appear, but a warning was issued for the communities along the coastal lines to avoid the territories, authorities said.
Earlier the agency reported that the quake was gauged at a 6.9 magnitude before the revision, Bayu Pranata, the official in charge at the agency told Xinhua news agency.
“We have just terminated the tsunami warning as tsunami did not happen,” Pranata said.
The quake struck at 18.40 p.m. Jakarta time (1140 GMT) with an epicentre at 85 km southwest of Banggai Kepulauan and 10 km under the sea bed.
One of the strongest intensities of the quake was felt at 4 MMI (Modified Mercalli Intensity) in Luwuk district, the official said.
The jolts triggered panic and forced people to evacuate in the Luwuk, Marowali and Kepulauan Banggai districts.
The National Disaster Management Agency didn’t issue a preliminary report of damages or casualty, but risks assessment on the impact of the natural disaster was being carried out, said agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.
The tremors were also felt in Taliabu of North Maluku province, forcing local people to evacuate to safer areas, said Sutopo.
Indonesia is prone to earthquakes as it lies on a vulnerable quake-hit zone called “the Pacific Ring of Fire”. In December, a deadly tsunami triggered by a volcanic eruption in the middle of the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands killed over 400 people.