7.9 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Mentawai Islands

(update 10:32PM) A 7.9 magnitude quake shook the region of the Mentawai Islands on Wednesday (2/3) evening, at around 19:49 pm.

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In a text message from the Spokesperson of the National Disaster Management Agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the local agency warned of a tsunami, quoted from rappler.com.

The quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometres (six miles), triggering a tsunami alert for parts of Sumatra, including West Sumatra, North Sumatra and Aceh, the local Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) quake monitoring agency said.

Based on data from BMKG, the location of the earthquake was at 5:16 south latitude and 94.05 eastern longitude, or 682 km Southwestern Mentawai Islands.

Telephone communication was down in Mentawai near where a major earthquake struck, according to Indonesia’s SAR agency.

Residents of West Sumatra’s Mentawai islands being evacuated to higher ground after 7.9 earthquake.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology issued a marine warning for distant Cocos and Christmas islands. It did not advise evacuations, but said strong and dangerous currents were possible and people should secure boats and avoid waterfront areas. The warning noted that a tsunami had not been confirmed.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said there is little danger of a tsunami directed at the Hawaiian islands from this particular earthquake.

A monster quake off Indonesia in 2004 triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries. Most of the deaths were in Aceh province.

There have been no immediate reports of damage.

This story will be updated as more information comes in.

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