Jakarta (ANTARA) - An earthquake of magnitude 7.4 struck Melonguane Sub-district in Talaud Islands District, North Sulawesi, in the early morning of Monday but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the quake.

The epicenter of the strong quake that occurred at 02:48 a.m. Western Indonesia Time was about 960 km away from the sub-district at a depth of 132 km.

It was located at 12.61 degrees north latitude and 127.40 degrees east longitude, according to Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

The agency urged local residents in affected areas to stay alert for aftershocks.

Earthquakes regularly rock various parts of Indonesia since the country lies on the Circum-Pacific Belt, also known as the Ring of Fire, where several tectonic plates meet and cause frequent volcanic and seismic activities.

ANTARA noted that Talaud Islands have repeatedly been jolted by earthquakes. On January 22, 2022, for instance, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake rocked southeast of Melonguane at 9:26 a.m. Western Indonesian Standard Time.

BMKG reported that the quake's epicenter was located at 3.67 degrees northern latitude and 126.82 degrees eastern longitude, some 39 kilometers southeast of Melonguane and at a depth of 12 kilometers.

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In Indonesia's history of earthquakes, Aceh, the country's westernmost province, had experienced the deadliest earthquake ever recorded, with a magnitude of 9.3, followed by a tsunami on December 26, 2004.

The catastrophe that also affected certain coastal areas in countries such as Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India, reportedly killed some 230,000 people in Aceh.

Deadly earthquakes have repeatedly hit the island of Sulawesi. On September 28, 2018, for instance, a 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit several parts of Central Sulawesi Province.

The strong earthquake that was followed by a tsunami and soil liquefaction in Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi Province, claimed 2,102 lives, injured 4,612, and rendered 680 others missing.

Serious damage was inflicted on 68,451 homes, resulting in the displacement of 78,994 people.

The authorities and humanitarian workers decided to bury a large number of rotting corpses in mass graves.

The authorities estimated material losses inflicted by the twin deadly disasters to reach Rp15.29 trillion or approximately US$990 million at the current exchange rates.

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Translator: Asep F, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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