01/22/2021, 13.50
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Strong earthquake, but without victims, in North Sulawesi

by Mathias Hariyadi

The shock that reached 7.1 on the Richter scale was felt, as well as in the region, as far as the Philippines. No tsunami warning was issued.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - According to preliminary information, no casualties or even serious damage was caused by the earthquake that struck last night around 19.23 Western Indonesian Time (WIB) on the island of Talaud, in the North Sulawesi archipelago, in Indonesia.

The epicentre was located approximately 132 km from Melonguane, Talaud district - which is a three-hour ferry ride from Bitung, North Sulawes' main port - 119 km deep in the ocean.

According to the Indonesian agency of meteorology, climatology and geophysics (BMKG), the epicenter was found 134 kilometers northeast of Melonguane, Talaud Islands, off the coast of Manado-Bitung in the hinterland of North Sulawesi.

The earthquake was also felt in other regions, including the provinces of the North Moluccas, such as Galela and Halmahera. In addition to Melonguane, the agency confirmed that the tremor was felt in the areas of Tahuna, Ondong, Manado, Bitung, Bolaang Uki, Gorontalo, North Halmahera and Galela. The tremors were also felt in the Philippines. No tsunami warning was issued.

People in Manado kept their cool, when the shock felt as if the nearby streets were swaying due to the passage of heavy and long vehicles.

The Indonesian BMKG determined that the cause of this earthquake was the local plate-shifting activity based in the Philippines which later created the so-called thrust fault.

There are no reports of aftershocks. However, Bambang Setiyo Prayitno of the Indonesian BKMG recommends that people be cautious about distributing unverified information via social media, which is sometimes not true.

Father Stevi Undap, of the Saint Familia Mangaran on the island of Kabaruan, Talaud confirms that there are no fatal and serious accidents. "We're doing well here," he says. "There are no casualties or serious damage to Kabaruan. But - he adds - there is still no information available from other small islands".

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