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8 dead, dozens hurt as Indonesia quake shakes East Java

·2 min read

MALANG, Indonesia — A strong earthquake on Indonesia's main island of Java killed eight people, including a woman whose motorcycle was hit by falling rocks, and damaged more than 1,300 buildings, officials said Sunday. It didn't trigger a tsunami.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.0 quake struck off the island's southern coast at 2 p.m. Saturday. It was centred 45 kilometres (28 miles) south of Sumberpucung town of Malang District in East Java province, at a depth of 82 kilometres (51 miles).

Rahmat Triyono, the head of Indonesia’s earthquake and tsunami centre , said the undersea tremblor did not have the potential to cause a tsunami. Still, he urged people to stay away from slopes of soil or rocks that have the potential for landslides.

This was the second deadly disaster to hit Indonesia this week, after Tropical Cyclone Seroja caused a severe downpour Sunday that killed at least 174 people and left 48 still missing in East Nusa Tenggara province. Some victims were buried in either mudslides or solidified lava from a volcanic eruption in November, while others were swept away by flash floods. Thousands of homes with damaged.

Saturday's quake caused falling rocks to kill a woman on a motorcycle and badly injured her husband in East Java’s Lumajang district, said Raditya Jati, spokesperson for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

He said about 1,189 homes and 150 public facilities, including schools, hospitals and government offices, were damaged. Rescuers retrieved four bodies from the rubble in Lumajang's Kali Uling village. Three people were also confirmed killed by the quake in Malang district.

Television reports showed people running in panic from malls and buildings in several cities in East Java province.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 270 million people, is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

In January, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed at least 105 people and injured nearly 6,500, while more than 92,000 were displaced, after striking Mamuju and Majene districts in West Sulawesi province.

____

Associated Press writer Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia contributed to this report.

Agus Basuki, The Associated Press