03/17/2006, 00.00
INDONESIA
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Seven-metre tsunami strikes Maluku's Buru Island

A strong earthquake triggers a tsunami. Three people die and a village is swept away. News reported only today.

Ambon (AsiaNews) – A seven-metre (24 ft) wave hit last Tuesday Buru, an island belonging to the Maluku archipelago in eastern Indonesia, but the news was reported only today. A quake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale with its epicentre under the island itself triggered a tsunami which killed three people wiping out the village of Pela and seriously damaging six others.

Maluku Governor Karel Albert Ralahalu explained that his administration was informed about the disaster only today. The wave destroyed 241 homes and forced 1,200 to flee to higher ground for safety.

In spite of the tsunami, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono travelled to Mako, Buru Island's main town, where he and top officials from Jakarta and Ambon were scheduled to take part in a local rice harvest festival. Buru Island is Maluku's rice capital.

The president pledged his government's aid. He assured the residents that shelter would be provided to the homeless and new housing will be rebuilt away from the coast. (BR)

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