Quake off Indonesia’s Bali causes minor damage, sparks panic

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AFP) – A strong earthquake struck off the Indonesian holiday island of Bali yesterday, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said, causing residents to flee their homes and damaging several buildings.

The quake, which had a magnitude of 5.7, hit at 7.18am and was centred 82.1 kilometres southwest of the island’s capital Denpasar, according to the USGS.

The tremor, which was felt as far away as Banyuwangi on the neighbouring island of Java, struck relatively deep at 91 kilometres and no tsunami warning was issued.

Residents of Bali described panic as the quake hit.

“I was carrying my baby when I felt the jolt – it was strong, I ran outside immediately and saw many people were already fleeing to the street,” Denpasar resident Komang Sudiani told AFP.

Photos circulated by Indonesia’s disaster agency showed minor damage to shop fronts and temples on the island.

Balinese men collect stones from a damaged temple. – AP

“We have received reports of damage such as fallen roof tiles and broken glass in several houses and offices,” Head of the agency’s Earthquake and Tsunami Division Rahmat Triyono said in a statement.

Over 20 homes, schools, temples and offices were moderately damaged by the tremor, predominantly in Badung district, near the tourist hub of Kuta, Bali authorities said.

No casualties have been reported in the disaster.

Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, where tectonic plates collide.

Last Sunday, a powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit the remote Maluku island chain in eastern Indonesia, killing three people and damaging nearly 1,000 houses.

Last year, a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island killed over 2,200 people, with another thousand declared missing. On December 26, 2004, a devastating 9.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 across the Indian Ocean region, including around 170,000 in Indonesia.