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Page last updated at 05:44 GMT, Monday, 17 November 2008

Toll rising after Indonesia quake

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At least two people have been killed and thousands fled their homes when a powerful earthquake struck off the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

The 7.5 magnitude quake struck the coastal town of Gorontalo at a depth of 10km (six miles).

It was followed by several aftershocks, including one of magnitude 5.8.

Panic gripped the province but fears of a tsunami receded after the country withdrew a warning shortly after it had been issued.

A health ministry official, Rustam Pakaya, said a 56-year old man and one other were killed, 37 were injured and more than 200 homes were damaged, some of them completely crumpled.

He said a number of buildings including schools had collapsed.

State news agency Antara said thousands of people fled homes and hotel rooms across Gorontalo, capital of a province of the same name.

US monitors were warning the quake could create a destructive tsunami within 1,000km (620 miles) of the epicentre.

Reporting Sunday's quake, the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center called for authorities in the region to "take immediate action to evacuate coastal areas".

A 2004 tsunami killed nearly a quarter of a million people, most of them in Indonesia's Aceh region.

That disaster led to pressure for better tidal warning systems in the region and Indonesia launched a new hi-tech system on Tuesday aimed at detecting tidal waves and providing faster alerts.

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