Brunei feels tremors from Indonesian earthquake

Hakim Hayat

Tremors were felt in some parts of Brunei around midday on Friday following a strong 6.6-magnitude deep undersea earthquake at eastern Indonesia about 1,596 kilometres from the Sultanate.

Reports of tremors in several buildings in the Brunei-Muara District were experienced including by occupants of the Design and Technology Building (D&T) in Kampong Anggerek Desa at 12.43pm; RB Plaza at 1.28pm and areas of Kampong Bolkiah in Kampong Ayer in the capital, according to a joint statement released by the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC); Ministry of Home Affairs and the Public Works Department (JKR) yesterday.

No injuries were reported.

The strong earthquake occurred at Katabu, Indonesia (Flores Sea) at 12.09pm local time with a depth of 650 kilometres.

The seismic station of the JKR detected the seismic wave at 12.12pm, the statement added.

According to a resident of an apartment building at Kampong Sumbiling in the capital, who declined to be named, he was in his bedroom, playing games on his phone when he felt a slight tremble. He did not realise it was a tremor resulting from an earthquake until later that day.

Tremors were felt around the Brunei-Muara District following a 6.6-magnitude earthquake at Katabu, Indonesia. PHOTO: AFP

Upon receiving emergency calls from occupants of several buildings on Friday, the Fire and Rescue Department assisted security personnel in activing emergency plans and evacuation procedures to vacate the buildings. Thirty individuals from the D&T building and 137 from the RB Plaza were evacuated.

The Fire and Rescue Department and JKR also conducted structural integrity inspection and safety level for the affected buildings and later deemed the buildings to be safe. Occupants were allowed to enter the buildings at 4.15pm.

Following the earthquake, AFP reported that Indonesian authorities issued no tsunami warnings and there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage.

In Kupang city, far south of the quake’s epicentre in the Banda Sea, frightened residents ran outside as buildings and streetlights swayed. “I was in the shopping centre when the quake hit,” said resident Engky Nussi.

“Many people ran outside as stuff started falling off the shelves and we were afraid something worse might happen.” Deep quakes tend to cause less damage than shallow ones and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said there was a low likelihood of casualties and damage.