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Indonesia, PNG earthquakes: islands rocked by 6.0 and 7.0 magnitude quakes

A SERIES of powerful earthquakes have rocked the Papua New Guinea island of New Britain.

Four earthquakes, the largest measuring a magnitude of 7.0, struck in the space of just under 30 minutes about 113km southeast of the town of Kimbe.

A fifth earthquake struck further north shortly after at a magnitude of 6.3 and a depth of 130km.

The first quake with a magnitude of 5.5 and a depth of just 10km struck at 6.45am local time, and was quickly followed up by the magnitude 7.0 event about three minutes later.

Two more earthquakes measuring magnitude 5.3 and 5.4 came within the next 25 minutes.

The first four events are clustered around the small village of Porlo but there have been no immediate reports of damage.

The Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed there is no tsunami risk for Australia.

Meanwhile, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake has struck just off the coast of Indonesia, a country reeling from an earthquake and tsunami last month that killed more than 2000 people.

The latest quake hit early this morning about 157 kilometers northwest of the popular island of Bali, at a depth of 10 kilometers.

The quake near Bali caused brief panic among residents, although there was no tsunami alert issued.

The head of Indonesia’s geophysics agency said there had been no reports of casualties or damage, although information was still being gathered in East Java province.

“The quake didn’t trigger any tsunami for sure,” Dwikorita Karnawati told AFP.

Some guests at a hotel in Nusa Dua, south of Bali’s main international airport, briefly fled outside after the strong tremor shook the building.

A woman named Davey, who took refuge in the parking lot of a Bali hotel, said: “Wow, that was really strong and it lasted a long time.”

Another resident, Ni Komang Sudiani, told AFP: “The quake was very big. I immediately woke up and took my little kids out of the house. All my neighbours were also running.” Tonny Akbar Mahendro said: “I felt it for about 10 seconds. People were sleeping but got woken up by it.”

The earthquake, which began in the Bali Sea, shook buildings for several seconds.

The quake was also felt in Surabaya, the capital of East Java province, which is about 200km from Situbondo, the nearest town to the quake epicentre.

Some residents briefly left their homes in the island’s capital Denpasar, according to Reuters.

The annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are being held this week in Bali, which is attended by more than 19,000 delegates and other guests, including ministers and some leaders.

The USGS put the epicentre as 40km northeast of Sumberanyar on nearby Java island.

Indonesia, one of the most disaster-prone nations on earth, straddles the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide and many of the world’s volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

More to come

Originally published as Bali, PNG shaken by earthquakes

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