Jakarta – A 7.1-magnitude earthquake that jolted areas in North Maluku and North Sulawesi was followed by dozens of aftershocks within approximately nine hours after the mainshock on late Thursday evening, a government agency has reported.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) reported that the earthquake was felt at 11:17 p.m. Jakarta time with an epicenter located about 134 kilometers northwest of Jailolo, North Maluku, and with a depth of 73 kilometers.
The agency also issued an early tsunami warning for the coast of the two provinces in response to the quake, which was also felt in North Sulawesi's capital of Manado, Gorontalo as well as Jailolo and Ternate in North Maluku. The warning was lifted on early Friday morning.
The BMKG has recorded at least 79 aftershocks as of 9 a.m. on Friday, Antara News Agency reported.
"The smallest quake was measured at 3.1-magnitude and the largest at 6.1. The aftershocks were near the main epicenter," Winangun Geophysics Station head of data and information Edward H Mengko said in Manado.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Agus Wibowo said there had not been any reports of infrastructure damage or casualties.
Personnel of the BNPB, the police and the military are currently surveying post-earthquake conditions to check for damages.
"Residents should not panic or be influenced by incorrect and irresponsible news. Make sure to follow official news from relevant institutions such as the BMKG, BNPB, BPBD [Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency], provincial agencies and other authorities," Agus said in a written statement on Friday.
However, KompasTV reported that some buildings on the Boulevard area of Jl. Pierre Tendean, including Manado Town Square mall in Manado, had been damaged by the quake, with glass windows visibly damaged.
According to the West Halmahera BPBD in North Maluku, there had not been any reports of damages or casualties, and residents had returned to their homes and resumed their normal activities.
West Halmahera BPBD head Imron Loloroi said the agency continued its patrol and survey of the location on the ground.
According to the Ternate BPBD in North Maluku, residents have resumed their normal activities and the agency continued surveying any possible damages.
The Ternante BPBD reported that residents who were avoiding the coast had returned to their homes but advised them to be on alert for aftershocks.
Two people identified as Delvi Peo and Mesin Bunga, both of whom were residents of Batang Dua district in Ternate, had been injured in the disaster, the BNPB said.
The earthquake also damaged several buildings in Ternate, including six houses and two churches.
Meanwhile, in Southeast Minahasa, North Sulawesi, a resident identified as Sintia Lasik died after receiving treatment at the Tombatu community health center (Puskesmas) on Friday early morning.
Tombatu Puskesmas head John Munaiseche said she had likely suffered a heart attack from the shock of the earthquake.
"According to our information, the patient had a history of heart disease. During the earthquake, the patient was shocked and was brought to Tombatu Pusekesmas to receive treatment," he said.
"We did the best we could to provide medical care, but the patient could not be saved."
Some buildings in the regency were also reportedly damaged. "We are still surveying the effects of this earthquake. We will announce them soon," said Southeast Minahasa BPBD secretary Jolly Tumiwa.