Officials and witnesses say an earthquake with a 6.1 magnitude struck inland along the western coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra island on Friday, killing at least two people and triggering vibrations that were felt as far away as Singapore and Malaysia.
The news: The tremor, which did not have the capacity to generate a tsunami, prompted residents in certain locations to abandon their homes, particularly in Padang, West Sumatra province, and even prompted evacuations in Malaysia.
- Dwikorita Karnawati, the chief of Indonesia’s geophysics agency BMKG, told MetroTV, “We continue to monitor and advise people to remain on alert.” The magnitude was first estimated to be 6.2 by the agency.
- At least two individuals were killed, according to Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency chief Suharyanto, and some buildings, including a government office, houses, and a bank, were damaged.
- A hospital was evacuated in West Pasaman, roughly 17 km (10.6 miles) from the epicentre, and there was fear in certain regions.
- There were no reports of injuries, but Singapore police claimed on Twitter that they had received calls from people detecting vibrations.
What they’re saying: “People gathered outside their homes and workplaces. They were scared of the tremors. Cables were shaking,” Frans Kiky Nainggolan, a shopkeeper in Riau province, agreed.
- In Malaysia, the fire service in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, said it had received many calls about tremors felt throughout the city, though no injuries or structural damage had been reported.
- “I felt the tremors for 1-2 minutes… We evacuated fast and others from another floor also,” said Hilfa Akmal, a resident of Subang Jaya on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.
The backstory: Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the “Pacific Ring of Fire,” a seismically active zone where several plates of the earth’s crust collide.
- The fault that runs the length of Sumatra Island can be particularly dangerous; in 2009, an earthquake wreaked havoc on areas of Padang, killing over a thousand people.
- A major 9.1 magnitude earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Aceh Province on Sumatra’s northern tip killed 226,000 people in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and nine other countries in 2004.