Indonesian authorities have issued a tsunami warning after a strong earthquake measuring 6.9-magnitude struck in the Molucca Sea. The US Geological Survey said on Sunday that the quake was centered 185 kilometers (114.8 miles) southeast of Manado at a depth of 24 kilometers (15 miles). The quake caused panic in the city of Ternate in the Maluku island chain, where people ran to higher ground.
There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. "I was getting ready to sleep when the window started rattling," Budi Nurgianto, a resident of the city, told news agency AFP. "It was very strong - I ran from my house and all my neighbours fled too."
Indonesia is one of the most disaster-hit nations on Earth due to its position straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide. It has been hit by a string of deadly quakes including a devastating 2004 tremor measuring 9.1 magnitude that struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including 168,000 in Indonesia.
The Boxing Day disaster was the world's third biggest quake since 1900, and lifted the ocean floor in some places by 15 metres (50 feet). Indonesia's Aceh province is the hardest hit area, but the tsunami affects coastal areas as far away as Africa.
Last year, a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island killed more than 2,200 with a thousand more declared missing.