Tsunami warning lifted after strong quake hits off Indonesia

Tsunami warning lifted after strong quake hits off Indonesia
Indonesia's disaster agency issued a tsunami warning for coastal communities in Morowali district. The warning was later lifted by the agency. (USGS website)
Updated 12 April 2019

Tsunami warning lifted after strong quake hits off Indonesia

Tsunami warning lifted after strong quake hits off Indonesia
  • Indonesia's geophysics agency issued a tsunami warning for coastal communities in Morowali district, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage
  • Indonesia is one of the most disaster-prone nations on Earth due to its position straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide

JAKARTA: A strong 6.8 magnitude earthquake rocked eastern Indonesia Friday, the United States Geological Survey said, triggering a tsunami warning and sending panicked residents fleeing from their homes.
The quake struck at a relatively shallow depth of 17 kilometres (10 miles) off the east coast of Sulawesi island, the USGS said, where a 7.5-magnitude quake-tsunami around the city of Palu killed more than 4,300 people last year.
Indonesia's disaster agency issued a tsunami warning for coastal communities in Morowali district, where residents were advised to move away from the coast.
The warning was later lifted by the agency, which had estimated the wave at under a half a metre (20 inches).
But the USGS warned that considerable damage was possible in poorly built or badly designed structures.
It was not immediately clear how much damage was caused by the quake or if there were any casualties.
Hapsah Abdul Madjid, who lives in Luwuk city in Banggai district, Central Sulawesi, where the tremor was felt strongly, said people fled to higher ground and the electricity was cut, adding that residents panicked as fears soared over an imminent tsunami.
The tremor off the eastern coast of Sulawesi is on the other side of the island from disaster-hit Palu, where residents still felt the quake despite being hundreds of kilometres away.
"I ran straight outside after the earthquake - everything was swaying," 29-year-old Palu resident Mahfuzah told AFP.
Thousands in Palu were still living in makeshift shelters six months after the late September disaster with at least 170,000 residents of the city and surrounding districts displaced and entire neighbourhoods still in ruins, despite life returning to normal in other areas of the tsunami-struck city.
The force of the quake saw entire neighbourhoods levelled by liquefaction - a process where the ground starts behaving like a liquid and swallows up the earth like quicksand.
Apart from the damage to tens of thousands of buildings, the disaster destroyed fishing boats, shops and irrigation systems, robbing residents of their income.
Indonesia has said the damage bill in Palu topped $900 million. The World Bank has offered the country up to $1 billion in loans to get the city back on its feet.
Indonesia is one of the most disaster-prone nations on Earth due to its position straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide.
Last year was a particularly tough one, however, with more than 2,500 disasters ranging from a series of deadly earthquakes to killer landslides and volcanic eruptions.
The sprawling archipelago is dotted with more than 100 volcanoes, including one in the middle of the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands that erupted in late 2018 and unleashed a tsunami that killed more than 400 people.


A year after Wuhan lockdown, China reports small rise in COVID-19 cases

A year after Wuhan lockdown, China reports small rise in COVID-19 cases
Updated 23 January 2021

A year after Wuhan lockdown, China reports small rise in COVID-19 cases

A year after Wuhan lockdown, China reports small rise in COVID-19 cases
  • The National Health Commission said 107 new COVID-19 cases had been identified on Saturday

SHANGHAI: China on Saturday reported a slight increase in new cases of COVID-19 as it marks the anniversary of the world’s first coronavirus lockdown, in the city of Wuhan where the disease emerged in late 2019.
The National Health Commission said 107 new COVID-19 cases had been identified on Saturday, up from 103 cases the day before.
The commission said in a statement that 90 of the new cases were local infections.
The northeastern province of Heilongjiang recorded 56 new cases and neighboring Jilin province had 13. Both Beijing and Shanghai recorded three new cases each, and the province of Hebei, which surrounds Beijing, recorded 15 new cases.
The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 99 from 119 cases a day earlier.
Beijing launched mass COVID-19 testing in some areas on Friday and Shanghai was testing all hospital staff as China faced its worst novel coronavirus outbreak since March, with families fretting over Lunar New Year reunion plans.
Also on Friday, China reported its first cluster of cases among workers in a meat processing plant in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang, raising consumer concerns.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China stands at 88,911, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,635.
Wuhan shut down transport networks and suspended outgoing flights on Jan. 23, 2020, in an attempt to cut off transmission of the virus.
China on Friday premiered a documentary film to mark the anniversary of the lockdown, part of a broader effort to cast China’s early response to COVID-19 in a positive light after some suggestions, which authorities reject, of an initial delay.
More than 2 million people around the world have died from the novel coronavirus, according to a Reuters tally.