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The BBC's Richard Galpin in Jakarta
"The earthquake struck in the middle of the night"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 14 February, 2001, 03:41 GMT
Earthquake hits Sumatra
A woman cries in front of her house in Manna
Hundreds of buildings were flattened in last year's quake
A powerful earthquake has struck off the Indonesia island of Sumatra, where more than 100 people died in a quake last June.

The tremor hit at 0228 on Wednesday (1928GMT Tuesday) about 400km (250 miles) west of the capital, Jakarta, according to Australian seisomologicals who monitored the tremor.

They put the strenth of the quake at 7.3 on the Richter scale, but Indonesian officials in Jakarta said it was less powerful - 5.0 on the Richter scale.

"The quake was felt in Bengkulu and Jakarta, but we haven't received any reports of damage or casualties caused by the quake," said Hamdani, an official with the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency.

He said the epicentre of the quake was under the ocean, 21 km (13 miles) southwest of Manna town in Bengkulu province.

Local police in Bengkulu city said the quake was felt strongly there, with people running out of their houses.

Windows shaken

Hamdani said that the tremor had caused panic in the sparsely populated region, but no damage, and he disputed the Richter reading of 7.3, measured by Australian, Hong Kong and US observers.

"If the magnitude was over 7.0 on the Richter scale ... it should have damaged houses and even demolished them. But our office there said ... all that happened was windows, walls and doors shook," he said.

Earthquakes regularly hit Indonesia. In June last year, the same area was hit by an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, which left 103 people dead.

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See also:

06 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Aid shortage in Sumatra quake zone
30 Nov 98 | Asia-Pacific
Quake rocks Indonesian islands
05 Jun 00 | Sci/Tech
Sumatra: Caught between two plates
04 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Quake kills 16 in Indonesia
30 Mar 00 | Sci/Tech
The Earth's Ring of Fire
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