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Powerful earthquake rocks Indonesia's Sumatra

A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.9 rattled Indonesia’s Sumatra island on Saturday, and residents fled their homes for higher ground fearing a possible tsunami.
/ Source: Reuters

A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.9 rattled Indonesia’s Sumatra island on Saturday, and residents fled their homes for higher ground fearing a possible tsunami, an official said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The Indonesian Meteorological and Geophysical Agency in Jakarta said the epicenter was about 30 miles northwest of the West Sumatra city of Padang.

The quake also was felt in Nias island, which was hit by an 8.7-magnitude quake on March 28 that killed hundreds of residents. Saturday’s quake epicenter was southeast of Nias.

“There is no tsunami due to the quake because it was a deep one under the sea,” said seismologist Rinto Madjiono at the earthquake center in Jakarta.

“But the shake was felt quite strong in Padang and Nias although there is no report of damage. Its impact was a lot smaller than the one in Nias (in March),” he told Reuters.

Saturday’s quake struck at around noon, sending residents of Nias’ main town of Gunungsitoli out of their homes and other buildings, local media reported. Similar scenes were seen elsewhere across Sumatra Island.

Indonesia -- especially Sumatra -- has been hit by daily aftershocks since the massive earthquake on Dec. 26 that led to a devastating tsunami.

Nias, about 870 miles northwest of Jakarta, is a remote and rugged island off Sumatra famed as a surfing paradise.