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Last Updated: Monday, 24 January, 2005, 11:28 GMT
Indonesian quake causes panic
Man shows a crack after earthquake attacks Palu in Central Sulawesi, 24/01/05
Police told residents there was no risk of another tsunami
A strong earthquake has hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, causing panic among thousands of people who fled their homes fearing a tsunami.

The earthquake, measuring 6.2, damaged several buildings in the town of Palu.

One person died after the tremor struck at 0410 (2010 GMT Sunday). Witnesses said they feared a sea surge such as the one that hit the region last month.

The new quake was also felt by residents of India's Andamans chain and in the mainland city of Madras.

Madras fear

The epicentre of Monday's tremor was reportedly about 20km (12 miles) south-west of Palu.

After the initial quake, there were a series of weaker aftershocks.

"We were afraid there will be a tsunami," Iqbal, a local hotel employee, was quoted as saying by the French news agency AFP.

At the city's main hospital, people "were shouting 'water, water' because they feared waves," Dr Riri Lamadjido told the AP news agency.

Police later toured the city, telling residents via loudspeakers that there was no threat of a tsunami.

Sulawesi was untouched by the magnitude 9.0 tremor on 26 December, which triggered a huge tsunami that affected many countries around the Indian Ocean.

Indonesia's Sumatra island was the worst affected region. More than 160,000 people died in Sumatra alone.

Monday's fresh quake also brought brief panic to Madras in southern India, which was also badly hit by the tsunami, although there were no new reports of injuries.

On Campbell Bay, the southernmost Andaman island, senior police officer Samuel Cherian told the Associated Press: "I was sitting in my office upstairs this morning at 10:45 when I felt a sudden jolt. My sentry downstairs also felt it. But there is no damage to property or life."

Meteorological officer DC Gupta in the Andamans' capital Port Blair said the quake was one of about 140 aftershocks felt since the 26 December tsunami.



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