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Tsunami warning : 7.6 magnitude earthquake shakes Indonesia

A 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck off Indonesia’s Tanimbar Islands on Tuesday, sending residents of the area into panic mode, although a tsunami warning was lifted after three hours and initial reports indicated limited damage.

The Tanimbar Islands are a group of about 30 islands in eastern Indonesia in the Maluku province. At least four aftershocks were reported after the strong earthquake was also felt in parts of northern Australia.

Indonesia’s disaster agency officials said at least 15 houses and two school buildings were damaged, with one person injured after the tremors were felt strongly for 3-5 seconds. The 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck at a depth of 130 km (80.78 miles) at 2:47 a.m. local time (1747 CET Monday), the country’s geophysical agency BMKG said. The tsunami warning was canceled at 5:43 a.m.

BMKG chief Dwikorita Karnawati told a news conference, advising people who lived near the coast to continue their activities “Based on our observation of four tide gauges around the epicenter of the earthquake… no anomaly or significant sea level changes were detected”.

BMKG said “The European Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) recorded the earthquake’s magnitude at 7.6 after initially reporting 7.7. The USGS also designated it as a magnitude 7.6. There were four aftershocks with the strongest recorded at magnitude 5.5”.

Indonesia sits at the top of the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, making it one of the most seismically active areas in the world, with frequent earthquakes. A 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia’s most populous West Java province last November, flattening homes and killing more than 300 people.

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