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Quake Triggers Indonesian Tsunami; 5 Dead

Associated Press | July 17, 2006

JAKARTA, Indonesia

A powerful earthquake sent a 6-foot-high tsunami crashing into a beach resort on Indonesia's Java island Monday, killing at least five people and causing extensive damage to hotels, restaurants and homes, the president and witnesses said.

People ran up a hill to escape the wave on Pangandaran beach in west Java, a woman who identified herself only as Teti told el-Shinta radio station.

"All the houses are destroyed along the beach," she said. "Small hotels are completely destroyed and at least one restaurant was washed away."

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told reporters that at least five people were killed.

The tsunami followed a quake that struck deep beneath the Indian Ocean 150 miles southwest of Java's western coast at 3:24 p.m. local time, causing tall buildings to sway as far off as the capital Jakarta.

The earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.2, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It was followed by a 6.1-magnitude aftershock two hours later.

Transport Minister Hatta Radjasa said he had heard reports about a tsunami striking two seaside towns, and urged people living on Java's southern coast to move inland in an orderly fashion.

"Everyone should move from the beach," he told el-Shinta.

The earthquake had triggered a tsunami warning on Indonesia's Java and Sumatra islands and Australia's Christmas and Cocos islands.

"There is a possibility of a destructive local tsunami in the Indian Ocean," Japan's Meteorological Agency said in a statement.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a similar bulletin.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because of its location on the so- called Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami killed at least 216,000 people, nearly half of them in Indonesia's Aceh province.

On May 27, a magnitude-5.9 earthquake devastated a large swath of Java Island, killing more than 5,800 people.



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