Earthquake slightly damages houses in southeastern Indonesia, but no casualties reported

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An earthquake slightly damaged houses and other buildings in southeastern Indonesia early Thursday, causing some panic but no apparent casualties.

The quake was strongly felt in several cities and villages and caused some to panic, said Daryono, who heads the Earthquake and Tsunami Center at Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency. It was based on land and had no risk of a tsunami.

“The quake has caused light damages in several buildings and houses,” wrote Daryono, who goes by a single name, on the social media platform X.

Video circulating on social media showed residents in Kupang, the province’s capital and largest city, reacting as houses and buildings swayed just after dawn. Some witnesses said ceilings at the governor’s and mayor’s offices were damaged.

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the strength at 6.1 magnitude and said the quake occurred 36 kilometers (22 miles) below the surface. The epicenter was 21 kilometers (13 miles) north-northeast of Kupang on the western side of Timor Island.

The Indonesian agency measured its strength at 6.3 magnitude. Variations in early measurements of quakes are common.

Indonesia is a seismically active archipelago of 270 million people where earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis frequently occur.

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake last year killed at least 602 people in West Java's Cianjur city. It was the deadliest in Indonesia since a 2018 quake and tsunami in Sulawesi killed more than 4,300 people.

In 2004, an extremely powerful Indian Ocean quake set off a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia's Aceh province.