Residents evacuate to hill for fear of tsunami

Residents evacuate to hill for fear of tsunami

"When the earthquake occurred I was riding a car and stopped at the traffic light intersection in Tatura."
Morowali Utara, C Sulawesi (ANTARA) - Panic-stricken residents in Kolonodale town, North Morowali district, Central Sulawesi province, were evacuated to a nearby mountain fearing a tsunami after a powerful earthquake of magnitude 6.9 struck the Banggai Islands district on Friday night.

"Admittedly, the residents panicked. But by 10.00 p.m. local time, some of the residents who fled to the mountain and higher grounds in the former capital of Morowali district had returned home," spokesman for the Central Sulawesi Provincial Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) Yoga said on Friday night.

The earthquake, which was centered in Banggai Islands district, was felt most by people in Kolonodale, and by the people in Luwuk town, Banggai Islands, forcing them to evacuate to a nearby mountain.

The tremors were also felt by the people in the Central Sulawesi provincial capital of Palu. Many residents who are still traumatized by the September 28, 2018, earthquake which devastated Palu city, Donggala, Sigi and Parigi Moutong districts rushed outdoors.

"When the earthquake occurred, I was riding a car and stopped at the traffic light intersection in Tatura,"  Farida said.

Farida said she felt as if somebody was shaking her car. "But when I looked left and right, I heard (some people) shouting earthquake, earthquake," she said.

Jefri, resident of Palu city who happened to be at a gas station, also felt the earthquake.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said earlier, the earthquake of magnitude 6.9 was centered 85 kilometers southwest of Banggai Islands district at a depth of 10 kilometers.

To anticipate eventualities, the agency issued an early tsunami warning.

Banggai Islands once bore the brunt of an earthquake and subsequent tsunamis, which claimed many lives in the 2000s.

By Friday night, there was no immediate report of material damage and casualties caused by the 6.9 magnitude earthquake.