Indonesia hit by powerful earthquake

February 12, 2009 05:19


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A powerful earthquake off eastern Indonesia damaged dozens of buildings and sent panicked residents fleeing to higher ground, some climbing trees to escape a feared tsunami, officials and witnesses said. At least 17 people were injured. The US Geological Survey said the 7.0-magnitude quake struck at 1:34 a.m. approximately 315 kilometers from Manado, the northernmost city on Sulawesi island. It was centered 30 kilometers beneath the ocean floor and followed by several aftershocks. The temblor was felt strongest on the nearby island of Talaud. Rustam Pakaya, a government crisis center official, said all the injuries and most of the damage occurred in Melonguane and Kabaruan towns. Patients in one hospital had to be evacuated to a clinic after one of the corridors collapsed, he said. Elsewhere, a church tower came tumbling down. More than 30 other buildings and homes sustained cracks.

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