JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - A series of powerful earthquakes
rattled Indonesia on Wednesday, killing at least three people,
triggering landslides and demolishing dozens of homes. A tsunami
warning sent panicked residents fleeing buildings to high ground.
The 7.0 magnitude quake was centered 18 miles (29 kilometers)
beneath the ocean floor and 125 miles (195 kilometers) off the
northern coast of Papua province, the U.S. Geological Survey said
on its website. It was accompanied by a series of strong
aftershocks, the highest measuring 6.4.
More than 20 houses collapsed in Serui, a town in Yapen
district, sparking fires in at least seven places, said police
spokesman Lt. Col. Wachjono, who like many Indonesians uses only
one name. Two bodies were pulled from beneath the rubble.
"Police and rescuers are still searching for other victims in
remote areas," he said.
Hundreds of people ran out of their homes, said Yan Pieter
Yarangga, a resident from the town of Biak. Fearing a tsunami,
people fled beaches and some raced for high ground. "I ran too, I
was afraid there would be a second quake," he said.
The tsunami warning was later lifted.
When the electricity was cut, some women and children screamed
in terror, said Sgt. Junaidi, a local police official, who also
goes by one name. "Many were crying, they were so afraid."
Earlier in the day, a magnitude-5.3 quake on Sulawesi island,
nearly 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) to the west, triggered
landslides that badly damaged at least 50 homes, killing one
person, the official Antara news agency reported. Others were
injured, but it was not immediately clear how many.
Indonesia straddles a series of fault lines that make the vast
island nation prone to volcanic and seismic activity. A giant quake
off the country on Dec. 26, 2004, triggered the Indian Ocean
tsunami that killed 230,000 people, half of them in Indonesia's
westernmost province of Aceh.
The quake that hit Wednesday was located more than 2,000 miles
(3,000 kilometers) from the country's capital, Jakarta.