Magnitude 6.5 earthquake strikes part of Indonesia’s Papua

A powerful earthquake has shaken Indonesia’s easternmost region of Papua, but there were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties.

The US Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.5 quake was centred 162km northeast of Abepura, a subdistrict in Jayapura, the capital of Papua province. It occurred at a depth of 10km.

Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency said there was no danger of a tsunami but warned of possible aftershocks as the earthquake was centred inland.

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With a population of only 62,250, Abepura is one of Indonesia’s least-populated towns. In February, another shallow earthquake shook the province, killing four people who were unable to escape when a floating restaurant collapsed into the sea.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of more than 270 million people, is frequently hit by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions because of its location on the Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake on November 21 killed at least 331 people and injured nearly 600 in West Java’s Cianjur city. It was the deadliest in Indonesia since a 2018 quake and tsunami in Sulawesi killed more than 4300 people.

In 2004, an extremely powerful Indian Ocean quake set off a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia’s Aceh province.

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