Scores of people were wounded and some poorly-constructed buildings collapsed in eastern Indonesia's North Sulawesi after a powerful 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit the eastern part of Indonesia on Sunday, the provincial disaster management agency said.
The announcement of the possible tsunami caused panic among the people in the provinces of North Sulawesi and North Maluku, who ran to higher places in hurry, said the provincial officials.
Seven moderate and one weak aftershocks with the epicenter located nearly the same as the mainshock hit the province of North Sulawesi, the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency told Xinhua here.
The mainshock intensity was felt at five to six mmi (modified mercally intensity), categorized strong intensity, in the provinces of North Sulawesi and North Maluku, the provincial Meteorology and Geophysics Agencies officials told Xinhua by telephone.
"There are a number of people struck by damaged buildings. Scores of buildings collapsed in Bitung, Minahasa Raya and Manado, " the head of North Sulawesi disaster management agency named only Mangkaren said through telephone from the province.
He said that the panic-stricken people had returned home as the tsunami did not occur.
Meanwhile, Aryo Fauzi, an official of the provincial Meteorology and Geophysics Agency, said after returning from inspecting the field that some poorly-constructed buildings there were damaged.
In Ternate, the capital of North Maluku province, the quake only caused panic, with no reports of collapse of buildings so far, Teguh Prasetyo, an official of the provincial Meteorology and Geophysics Agency, said through telephone.
The fifth aftershock of 5.1 magnitude hit at 20:55, two hours and 28 minutes after the mainshock, an official of the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said here.
The shock's epicenter was located at 203 southeast Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi province, and at 33 kilometers under seabed, said the official.
One hour and 40 minutes later, the sixth aftershock with a similar magnitude rocked the province with an epicenter at 174 kilometers southeast of Manado and 91 kilometers under seabed, the official said.
Twelve minutes later, another 5.1 magnitude aftershock occurred with an epicenter of 179 kilometers southeast of Manado and 33 kilometers under seabed, said the official.
The eighth aftershock hit 12 minutes later with an magnitude of 5.3 at 153 kilometers northeast of Manado, the official said.
Over 160,000 people were killed in the tsunami triggered by a magnitude 8.7 quake in Indonesia's province of Aceh in December 2004.
Indonesian lies in a vulnerable quake hit zone called "the Pacific Rim of Fire," where continental plates meet causing frequent seismic and volcanic activities.
(Xinhua News Agency January 22, 2007)