Indonesia lifts tsunami alert after powerful quake causes panic

A screenshot from a USGS map showing the area where the quake occurred

Rahmat Triyono, a senior official at the agency, which put the earthquake's depth at 73km (45 miles), said the warning was specially issued for the eastern part of North Sulawesi province.

Indonesia issued a tsunami alert on Thursday after a powerful quake struck in the sea near the Moluccas, prompting panicked islanders to flee to higher ground, according to residents and a media report.

Earlier, Indonesia's Disaster Agency said that a 7.4-magnitude quake, measuring about 10 kilometers deep, was 147 kilometers south of Sumur, southwest of the capital Jakarta.

The Indonesian Meteorology, Climate and Geophysics agency (BMKG) announced early on Friday (local time) that it was lifting the tsunami warning.

Metro TV said some residents had fled to higher ground in the North Moluccas.

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Residents felt the quake "very strongly" and vidoes on social media show locals in the two provinces evacuating their homes and other buildings.

Indah Lengkong, who lives in the port city of Bitung, told The Independent people had initially panicked.

The tremor was reported 134km northwest of the island of Ternate, 45km deep, according to the US Geological Survey.

On Dec 26, 2004, a 9.1-magnitude natural disaster struck Aceh province, inflicting a tsunami and killing extra than 170,000 in Indonesia. No report on casualties and damage has been given.

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