Earthquake in Indonesia called deadly tsunami

A powerful earthquake this week in a remote corner of Indonesia reportedly triggered a tsunami that killed three people, but seismologists in the capital Friday said the waves were more likely the result of high tides and heavy winds. The confusion shows the poor coordination and lack of modern tsunami detection technology in Indonesia more than 14 months after its western shorelines were ravaged by the 2004 Asian tsunami, killing more than 130,000 people.

Tuesday's 6.8-magnitude quake was 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of Buru Island in the east of the sprawling country. Metro TV showed footage of scores of damaged homes in a seaside village on the island, and said the destruction was the result of a tsunami triggered by earthquake. Republika newspaper said three people were killed.

Government officials on the island were not immediately available for comment. Fauzi, a seismologist who heads the strong earthquake and tsunami section of Indonesia's Meteorological and Geophysics Agency, said the reports "were doubtful" and that the damage was more likely to be caused by tidal surges unrelated to the quake. Such events are common in Indonesia .

Fauzi, who goes by a single name, said his staff were trying to get more information on the reported tsunami from Indonesia 's national survey and mapping board, which maintains a network of sea sensors that measure tidal surges. Indonesia has installed a tsunami warning system off Sumatra , the Indian Ocean island worst hit by the Dec. 26, 2004 earthquake and tsunami, which officials hope to have fully operational later this year, reports the AP.


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