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Earthquake sparks panic in Indonesia's Aceh

An undersea earthquake rattles Indonesia's Aceh province, sparking panic among residents, although there was no tsunami warning or immediate reports of damage and casualties.

world Updated: Apr 28, 2007 05:51 IST

An undersea earthquake rattled Indonesia's Aceh province on Friday, sparking panic among residents, although there was no tsunami warning or immediate reports of damage and casualties.

The 5.9 magnitude quake struck at 3:02 pm (0802 GMT) and was centred some 70 km (45 miles) southwest of the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said. The quake was around 30 km (20 miles) deep.

The agency said there was no risk of a tsunami, but Banda Aceh residents ran out of their homes in panic, fearing a repeat of a tsunami that left about 170,000 Acehnese dead or missing in December 2004.

"I was driving when it happened but I could feel the shaking," said one resident, Fachri Adnan. "This is the biggest quake in recent months."

Earthquakes are frequent in Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country. Its 17,000 islands sprawl along a belt of intense volcanic and seismic activity, part of what is called the "Pacific Ring of Fire".