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Strong earthquake hits the Indonesian capital

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A strong earthquake shook parts of Indonesia’s main island of Java on Friday, damaging buildings and homes and pushing people into the streets, but no injuries were reported.

Officials said there was no danger of a tsunami.

The epicenter of the 6.6-magnitude earthquake was in the Indian Ocean, 88 kilometers southwest of Labuan, a coastal town in Banten province, the US Geological Survey said.

Photo: Reuters

It added that its center was at a depth of 37 km.

The director of the Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, Dwikorita Karnawati, said there was no danger of a tsunami, but warned of possible aftershocks.

The tallest towers of Jakarta swayed for more than 10 seconds and some ordered evacuations, sending large numbers of people onto the streets. Even the two-storey houses shook heavily in the satellite cities of Tangerang, Bogor and Bekasi.

Earthquakes happen frequently across the sprawling island nation, but it’s not uncommon to feel them in the capital.

“The earthquake was horrific…Everything in my room was swaying. We ran outside and went down the stairs in panic,” said Laila Angasari, a Jakarta resident who lives on the 19th floor of an apartment building.

At least 257 homes and buildings were damaged, most of them in Pandeglang, the area closest to the epicenter, said Abdul Mahari, spokesman for Indonesia’s National Disaster Reduction Agency.

Minor damage was also reported elsewhere, but no injuries were reported.

Indonesia is vulnerable to seismic disturbances due to its location on major geological faults known as the Pacific “Ring of Fire”.

In January last year, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake killed at least 105 people and injured nearly 6,500 in West Sulawesi province.

In 2004, a very strong earthquake in the Indian Ocean triggered a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries, mostly in the Indonesian province of Aceh.

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