x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 August 2017

Strong earthquake strikes off Indonesian island of Sumatra

The US Geological Survey said the quake on Sunday morning had a magnitude of 6.4 and occurred at a depth of 35 kilometres

A strong earthquake struck off the coast of southern Sumatra in Indonesia on Sunday, causing panic as it was felt several hundred kilometres away in Singapore.

There are no immediate reports of damage and no tsunami warning.

The US Geological Survey said the quake on Sunday morning had a magnitude of 6.4 and occurred at a depth of 35 kilometres. It was centred 74km west of the coastal city of Bengkulu.

"The earthquake was quite strong and shallow, it was felt all the way to Padang, West Sumatra, but there was no threat of a tsunami," Mochammad Riyadi, an official at Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency said.

He said officials were checking if there were any casualties or damage.

Ade Edward, an official at the disaster mitigation agency in the coastal city of Padang, about 385km from Bengkulu, said the quake caused residents to panic. It was felt across southern Sumatra.

Bengkulu resident Neng Hasnah said the quake felt very strong for a few seconds, forcing her and her family members to flee her house.

"I was carrying my seven-month old granddaughter and I had to run, all the neighbours also ran outside their homes," Ms Hasnah said.

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Singapore's Channel NewsAsia television station said it received calls from residents in Singapore, some 590km from Bengkulu, who also felt tremors.

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

An earthquake struck Indonesia's western Aceh province in December 2016, killing more than 100 people, injuring many more and leaving tens of thousands homeless.