Serang, Banten (ANTARA) - An earthquake of magnitude 5.5 that jolted Banten Province on Sunday did not cause casualties but damaged four houses in Cirinten Sub-district, Lebak District, a police spokesperson stated.

The damaged houses belong to Suhadi, 48; Umbi, 55; Santani, 47; and Pulung, 34, Banten Police spokesperson Senior Commissioner Shinto Silitonga confirmed here Monday.

The kitchen of Badur Village resident Suhadi's house suffered serious damage, while the wall of the guest room of the house of Umbi, a Datarcae Village resident, was damaged, he remarked.

Santani, who also resides in Datarcae Village, found cracks to have developed in his house's wall, while the kitchen of Datarcae resident Pulung suffered minor damage owing to the quake, he stated.

Silitonga, however, did not clarify whether the affected residents would receive disaster relief fund from authorities for repairing their damaged houses.

Over the past years, earthquakes have frequently rocked Banten's areas. On August 3, 2019, for instance, a magnitude-6.9 earthquake jolted Panjang Jaya Village in Mandalawangi Sub-district, Pandeglang District.

The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) urged the public to ignore rumors on social media platforms claiming the likelihood of a nine-magnitude earthquake following a 6.9-magnitude earthquake.

On January 14, 2022, a 6.6-magnitude quake hit Banten at 4:15 p.m. local time.

In connection with this quake, the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) warned that it signaled the potential of a Sunda Strait megathrust earthquake that could reach 8.7 in magnitude.

The 6.6-magnitude quake was a reminder that Indonesia is in a zone vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis, BRIN engineer Widjo Kongko noted in a statement early this year.

"The Banten earthquake reminded (of) the potential of (the earthquake) threat in southern Java, Sunda Strait, Sumatra, and its megathrusts," Kongko stated.

Kongko drew attention to the likelihood of the Sunda Strait, Enggano, and the West-Central Java megathrust segments setting off a large quake.

If the megathrust earthquakes occur at the same time, their magnitude can reach 9.0 and above on the Richter scale, he noted. The magnitude of the likely earthquake is expected to be the same as the 2004 Aceh earthquake and tsunami, he pointed out.

However, scientifically, as the sea depth at the earthquake source would be deeper than the 2004 disaster, the tsunami waves would be higher than that during the Aceh quake, Kongko stated.

Nevertheless, he advised the public to not panic but work with the local government or the Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) to augment mitigation efforts.

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Translator: M.Suryana, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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