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Level 5.4 earthquake rocks Indonesia, kills 4

The earthquake damaged several office buildings, houses, a mosque, and a hospital

Indonesia | Shutterstock

February 9, 2023 7:00pm

Updated: February 10, 2023 7:00am

An earthquake reaching 5.4 on the Richter magnitude scale struck Indonesia on Thursday, killing at least four people and damaging several buildings, authorities said. 

The earthquake struck at around 1:29 p.m. local time (06:28 GMT) on the north coast of Papua, southwest of Jayapura city at a depth of 10 kilometers, according to Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency (BMKG). 

The earthquake damaged several office buildings, houses, a mosque, and a hospital. Among the buildings that collapsed was a waterfront cafe, which left several customers trapped inside. At least four individuals died and three others were injured. 

“A cafe collapsed and four people died there. It fell into the sea,” Asep Khalid, head of the Jayapura disaster mitigation agency, said in a press statement.

“I was having lunch when things suddenly swayed, the jolt got much stronger,” said Putri Kurita, 30, who ran for the exit at another restaurant fearing it would collapse, too.

"So far there are no reports of missing persons after the quake, but we are still on alert. If there are reports of missing persons, we will resume a search and rescue mission," said Yudi Yanto, spokesman of the search and rescue office in Jayapura city. 

The BMKG warned residents of potential aftershocks. 

Indonesia experiences several earthquakes a year because it is above the Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide. 

“Since Jan 2, 2023, there have been 1,079 quakes around Jayapura, with about 132 felt by its residents,” said BMKG chief, Dwikorita Karnawati, adding that Thursday’s has been the biggest one so far.