Strong quake sparks fires in Indonesian town : residents
January 7, 2008, 7:13 am
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Jakarta (ANTARA News) – A strong 6.2-magnitude quake struck Indonesia’s Papua province on Monday, damaging about 25 houses and sparking fires but causing no casualties, the meteorological agency, officials and residents said.

The earthquake was centred eight kilometres (five miles) northwest of the town of Manokwari, prompting residents to flee their homes and other buildings, many clutching belongings, ElShinta radio said.

Local policeman Ari said that some 20 floating houses belonging to fishermen had caught fire following the quake.

“The houses were made of wood, that’s why they were easily burned. The shakes may have caused stoves to fall which caused fires,” he told AFP.

He said that about five kilometres away, a number of houses, hotels and taller buildings suffered cracks in their walls, adding that a church under construction had partly collapsed.

No casualties were reported, he added.

Ari told AFP that about five houses had been burned in another area of town.

Anton Wesnusa, Manokwari’s district secretary, said on Elshinta radio that the damage was “very limited” and daily activities had resumed as normal.

The state-run Antara news agency cited resident Nurul Damarini as saying that thousands of people living along the coast had grabbed their belongings and fled to higher ground, fearing a tsunami.

The United States Geological Survey measured the quake at 5.8 and said it occurred at a depth of 10 kilometres (six miles) at 12:12 (0312 GMT).

Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where the meeting of continental plates causes frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. (*)

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