Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Tremors felt in Malaysia after quake strikes Sumatra

- For those of you in KL, did you feel it? Our seats were moving!! Scarry!! -

KUALA LUMPUR: Tremors were felt in parts of peninsular Malaysia and Singapore after an earthquake struck southern Sumatra at 11.50am.

There is no threat of a tsunami, the Meteorological Department said.

The earthquake measured 5.8 on the Richter scale, it said.

Meanwhile the AP reported from Jakarta:

A powerful earthquake in western Indonesia killed at least four people Tuesday, flattening hundreds of buildings and overwhelming hospitals on Sumatra island, officials and witnesses said.

It was felt hundreds of kilometers (miles) away in Singapore, where some office buildings were evacuated, and in neighbouring Malaysia.

The magnitude 6.3 quake killed at least two children, a teacher and a woman in a market in the Sumatran town of Solok, said police spokesman Supriadi, adding that hundreds of buildings collapsed, including a state bank.

At least two hospitals were struggling to cope with a flood of patients, many of them suffering cuts and broken bones, said Supriadi, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the tremor had a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 and struck 50 kilometers (around 30 miles) from Padang, a city on Sumatra's western coast.

It had a depth of 33 kilometers (about 20 miles).

"Everything in my house were fell down... a cabinet hit me,'' said Rahma Nurjana, a Padang resident.

"My neighbor's house collapsed.''

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said the earthquake occurred on land, meaning no tsunami warnings would be issued.

The tremor was felt in Singapore, 430 kilometers (265 miles) from the epicenter, forcing the evacuation of several older office buildings, TV station Channel NewsAsia reported.

Residents in Malaysia's largest city, Kuala Lumpur, also reported tremors.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire,'' an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

In December 2004, a massive earthquake struck off Indonesia's Sumatra island and triggered a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people, including 131,000 people in Indonesia's Aceh province alone.

A tsunami off Java island last year killed nearly 5,000.

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