Reported on: June 16, 2010 16:45 PM
Reported in: International
JAKARTA, Jun 16 (AP/UNB) - A series of powerful earthquakes rattled Indonesia on Wednesday, killing at least three people, triggering landslides and demolishing dozens of homes. A tsunami
warning sent panicked residents fleeing buildings to high ground. The 7.0 magnitude quake was centered 18 miles (29 kilometers) beneath the ocean floor and 125 miles (195 kilometers) off the
northern coast of Papua province, the U.S. Geological Survey said on its website. It was accompanied by a series of strong aftershocks, the highest measuring 6.4.
More than 20 houses collapsed in Serui, a town in Yapen district, sparking fires in at least seven places, said police spokesman Lt. Col. Wachjono, who like many Indonesians uses only one name. Two bodies were pulled from beneath the rubble."Police and rescuers are still searching for other victims inremote areas," he said.
Hundreds of people ran out of their homes, said Yan Pieter Yarangga, a resident from the town of Biak. Fearing a tsunami, people fled beaches and some raced for high ground. "I ran too, I
was afraid there would b e a second quake," he said.The tsunami warning was later lifted.
When the electricity was cut, some women and children screamed interror, said Sgt. Junaidi, a local police official, who also goes by one name. "Many were crying, they were so afraid."
Earlier in the day, a magnitude-5.3 quake on Sulawesi island nearly 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) to the west, triggered landslides that badly damaged at least 50 homes, killing one person,
the official Antara news agency reported. Others were injured, but it was not immediately clear how many.
Indonesia straddles a series of fault lines that make the vast island nation prone to volcanic and seismic activity. A giant quakeoff the country on Dec. 26, 2004, triggered the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 230,000 people, half of them in Indonesia's westernmost
province of Aceh. The quake that hit Wednesday was located more than 2,000 miles
(3,000 kilometers) from the country's capital, Jakarta.