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January 18, 2023, 06.31 PM

MOROTAI, – An offshore earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 hit near eastern Indonesia's Maluku islands on Wednesday, Jan. 18, forcing panicked residents to run into the streets and briefly triggering a tsunami warning.

There were no immediate reports of casualties but light damage was reported on at least one island.

The epicenter of the tremor was located 150 kilometers northwest of the eastern Indonesian island of Halmahera, at a depth of 48 kilometers, the US Geological Survey (USGS) reported.

The undersea quake occurred around 13:06 p.m. local time off the coast of Sulawesi island, shaking nearby islands and sending some residents into the streets.

"The quake was felt around 15-20 seconds. The shakings were quite long," an AFP journalist on Morotai island in the Maluku archipelago said.

"Some people went outside because they were afraid of buildings collapsing."

Also read6.2-Magnitude Quake Hits Off Indonesias Sumatra: USGS

Abner Manery, the head of North Halmahera disaster mitigation agency, said some houses on Morotai were damaged.

A resident described the moment the quake shook the island.

"When it hit, we rushed outside, slightly panicked," Rizkal Fuadsamlan, 29, told AFP.

The NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said in an updated warning the tsunami threat had passed.

It said earlier tsunami waves could hit coastal areas around 300 kilometers from the epicenter.

The quake was also revised down from an initial magnitude of 7.2 reported by the USGS.

Second January quake

Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), which put the magnitude at 7.1, warned of possible aftershocks.

Source AFP

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