11/18/2019, 13.08
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A 7.1 quake hits North Sulawesi and North Maluku causing only minor damage to churches and homes

by Mathias Hariyadi

After the strong tremor, hundreds of aftershocks followed. Some damage was reported to three Protestant churches in Ternate and the Church of St Teresa in Malalayang, about 5 kilometres from Manado. There was a lot of fear for a possible tsunami.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – A 7.1 Richter scale earthquake rattled the provinces of North Sulawesi, North Maluku and the district of Jailolo causing only minor damage to some churches and homes.

Three churches in Ternate (North Maluku) and the Church of St Teresa in Malalayang, about 5 km from Manado, were affected.

Fr Rheiner Saneba, diocesan priest in the parish of Lotta, told AsiaNews that "the church’s roof has fallen,” but “no other significant damages have been reported.”

The strong shock occurred at 11.17 am last Thursday, followed by hundreds of aftershocks. Some houses collapsed, and three people were injured but there were no fatalities.

Sister Veronica Manaan, DSY, from Ternate, said that "no significant damages are reported from the ground”. However, at least in three Protestant churches – GPDI Eklesia Lelewi, GPM Jemaat Efata, and GKPMI Vila Bido – suffered some damages.

The strong tremor did however spread fear among residents. On the morning of the earthquake, many people living on the coast ran towards the hills to avoid a possible tsunami.

Although the tsunami alert was lifted a few hours later, they stayed away from their homes and the coast. There were only "small tsunamis" with waves of 6 to 10 cm in Ternate, Jailolo and Bitung.

The quake’s epicentre was located in the waters 137 km north-east of Jailolo (North Maluku), at a depth of 10 km.

Indonesia is located on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, and is subject to earthquakes and tsunamis. In July 2019, a 7.3 earthquake struck the Maluku Islands, killing four people.

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