Earthquake sparks rush to high ground in Sumatra


An earthquake of magnitude 6.8 struck parts of Indonesia today, sending people rushing out of their homes and heading toward high ground in fear of a possible tsunami.

However, there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, or that the quake had actually caused a tsunami, officials in Jakarta said.

Quakes have been common in Indonesia since a massive tremor on December 26th triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean that killed more than 180,000 people. Nearly 50,000 more are still unaccounted for from that disaster.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, no tsunami warning has been issued as a result of the quake, but it also said there are no tsunami detection devices in the immediate area of the quake.

The latest quake was felt in Indonesia's neighbour Singapore as well. A Reuters reporter in Padang, a city of some 800,000 on Sumatra's west coast, said he saw many people leave their houses and seek higher ground.

The United States Geological Survey said on its Web site that the quake, which struck at 10.29am (Irish Time) was "strong" and located in the Indonesia's Kepulauan Mentawai region.