Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Powerful quake strikes Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- A strong earthquake measuring 7.9 in magnitude has struck near southern Indonesia, sending people fleeing into the street and triggering a small tsunami.

Companies have ordered immediate emergency evacuations.

Brian Shiro of the National Oceanic and Atmopheric Administration's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the tsunami measured about two feet high, much smaller than the devastating one that struck in 2004, killing more than 200,000.
It was recorded in Padang, on Sumatra, several hundred miles northeast of the epicenter, Shiro said.

A tsunami watch has been issued for all Indian Ocean areas including Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Pakistan, Iran, Yemen and Kenya.
The earthquake struck at 1810 local time (1110 GMT) in Bengkulu province.
Several skyscrapers in Jakarta were rocked by the quake, which came at the end of the work day, said Andy Saputra, CNN producer in Jakarta.
"It's pretty strong and people are being evacuated from the tall buildings," he said.

Jakarta is 605 km (375 miles) southeast of the epicenter, believed to be Bengkulu Province in southern Sumatra.

Although some employees were too afraid to leave their offices, companies ordered immediate emergency evacuations, Saputra said.

Workers exited structures via fire stairs and went into the street, away from buildings and other potential dangers, he added.

The Financial Times' John Aglionby, speaking from Jakarta, told CNN: "I was up on the 16th floor of a skyscraper... I heard the blinds flapping and the windows first and the chairs were shaking and everything, and realized that we had to get out."
A resident of Bengkulu province told CNN: "Everyone is running out their houses in every direction."

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