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Buildings damaged, teenager missing in Indonesian quake


Jayapura:  A powerful earthquake rocked remote eastern Indonesia today, damaging several buildings and leaving a teenage boy missing after he fell into a river.

The 7.0-magnitude quake struck inland in a mountainous area of Papua in the early hours, almost 250 kilometres west of the province’s capital Jayapura at a depth of 52 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.

“The quake was felt very strongly for four seconds,” said disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. “Residents panicked and rushed out of their homes.”

Rescuers were still trying to reach the area closest to the epicentre in Memberamo district, which would take several hours, Nugroho added.

An AFP reporter in Jayapura said weak shaking was felt in the city for a few seconds.

One house collapsed and another was partially damaged in Kasonaweja city, not far from the epicentre, while patients were evacuated from a hospital after its walls cracked, said local disaster agency official Yonas Taudufu.

A 15-year-old boy who was fishing in a river fell into the water when the quake hit and remains missing, he said. A 50-metre crack also appeared in a road.

Both Indonesian authorities and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of any tsunami waves from the quake.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

A huge undersea quake in 2004 triggered a tsunami that engulfed Aceh province, on western Sumatra island, killing more than 170,000 people in Indonesia and tens of thousands more in other countries with coasts on the Indian Ocean.

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