Jakarta, Sep 26 (IANS) At least eight people were killed and more than 20 others injured as a 6.5 magnitude quake struck off Indonesia’s Maluku province on Thursday, officials said.
Meanwhile, more than 8,000 people fled home as the quake triggered panic among locals, reports say.
The earthquake occurred at 6.46 a.m. (local time) on Thursday, with the epicenter about 40 km from Ambon, the capital of Maluku province. It was followed by an aftershock of 5.6 magnitude at 7.39 a.m. (local time).
The temblor damaged a university building, a hospital, a bridge and other buildings in the province, said Farida Salampessy, head of the province’s operation unit of the disaster management agency.
“For now, I can confirm that eight people died but reports from several other affected areas have not reached,” she told Xinhua news agency.
“We have set up some field health clinics as a hospital was damaged. Some other facilities have also been established to accommodate the needs of the evacuees.
The risk assessment of the natural disaster has been under way in the province, Salampessy added.
“The number of casualties and injured persons could change,” said Rita Sihombing, a press officer of the national disaster management agency.
Indonesia is prone to earthquakes as it lies on a vulnerable quake-impacted zone called “the Pacific Ring of Fire”.