At least two people have died and 20 people injured in West Pasaman regency in Indonesia, following a 6.2-magnitude earthquake on Friday (Feb 25) morning, National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) chief Suharyanto said at a media briefing.
Some buildings, including a school and a bank in the Sumatra province, have also been damaged.
The agency is sending its quick response team to Pasaman and West Pasaman regencies, two most affected regions, Mr Suharyanto added.
The quake struck Sumatra island’s north at a depth of 12km, about 70km from the town of Bukittinggi in West Sumatra province, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.
No tsunami warning was issued, but the quake was felt in the neighbouring provinces of Riau and North Sumatra, and as far away as Singapore and Malaysia.
Describing the disaster as a “shallow crustal earthquake”, Indonesia Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency’s (BMKG) chief Dwikorita Karnawati said at a media briefing in Jakarta: “The earthquake does not potentially trigger a tsunami.”
Dr Dwikorita also urged the locals to stay away from slopes and cliffs as the aftershocks may cause landslides and rock falls, especially during rain.
The earthquake occurred at 8.39am Indonesia Western Time (9.39am Singapore time). It was preceded by a magnitude 5.2 foreshock, and followed by 15 aftershocks of various magnitudes until 10.06am, said Dr Dwikorita.
Around 100 houses in Nagari Kajai, Talamau district in West Pasaman regency were damaged, regent Hamsuardi told Kompas TV. Some residents were also injured, he added.
Mr Alim Bazar, head of the disaster mitigation agency of Pasaman city near the quake’s epicentre, told Agence France-Presse that some buildings suffered cracks.
“The mayor called and ordered all second and third floors in every building should be vacated,” he said.
Mr Bazar said there were reports of some injuries, but did not have any details.
Mr Irpanda, a resident of Pasaman city, whom like many Indonesians goes by one name, told Metro TV that he felt both the first and second tremors.
“At first, the quake only lasted for a few seconds. People fled their homes and buildings nearby were swaying,” he told AFP.
“But then another quake happened and it was so strong. More people fled their houses,” he said, adding that patients at a local hospital were moved outside.
Tremors were felt in multiple locations in Singapore as well, including Bedok, Hougang, Lavender, Punggol and Sengkang, as well as the Central Business District.
Madam Lynn Chua, 44, was having her breakfast in her Hougang flat on the 10th floor when she felt her dining table start shaking at around 9.45am. She felt giddy and quickly grabbed the sides of her table.
Madam Chua, a housewife, told The Straits Times: “I felt two rounds of tremors, which both lasted for about five seconds. This all happened within a minute.
“My husband, who also felt the tremors, later checked and told me that an earthquake had occurred.”
Project manager Wendy Koh, in her 40s and who lives in Lavender, also felt the tremors. She was in the midst of a video call with her colleagues when she felt them, which she said lasted about a minute or two.
“I thought it might have been my new washing machine as it’s quite powerful but I only realised what was happening when everyone else on the call said they had also felt the tremors,” she said.
Bedok resident Sharl said she felt the tremors at around 9.45am on Friday morning in her 13th-floor home.
The 26-year-old social programme executive, who declined to give her full name, told ST: “It felt like the building was shaking, The monitors on my table were moving too. It made me feel a little dizzy and I think this is probably one the worst tremors I’ve felt so far, since I usually can feel tremors whenever there is an earthquake in the region.”
— EMSC (@LastQuake) February 25, 2022
People also took to social media to report the tremors they felt.
The police and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said they received several calls from the public reporting the tremors. There were no reported injuries, the SCDF added.
Members of the public who are indoors and feel any tremors are advised to take cover under a table and to keep away from items made of glass or any hanging objects, the police said on Facebook. They are also advised people not to use the lift, or any naked light, in case of a gas leak.
For those who are outdoors, they are advised to keep away from buildings and overhead electric cables, the police said.
The quake was also felt in Malaysia.
The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) issued an alert on the temblor on Twitter at 10.12am, The Star newspaper reported.
“Tremors from the quake could be felt in the western part of Peninsular Malaysia, especially Selangor, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor,” MetMalaysia said.
Student Zhen Li, 17, was having online classes at home in a Kuala Lumpur suburb when she felt the tremors. “I was in the middle of Math class and I felt the chair move,” she told The Straits Times.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, causing it to experience frequent earthquakes.
In 2004, a 9.1-magnitude quake struck the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 people throughout the region, including about 170,000 in Indonesia. [Strait Times]
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