Indonesia Quakes Destroy Homes, Cause Landslides

A series of earthquakes hit Indonesia on Wednesday, triggering a tsunami warning and forcing people to seek higher ground. At least three people have been reported killed, but the death toll could rise as rescuers have yet to reach remote areas, officials said.

The first quake, which hit Sulawesi Island early Wednesday with a magnitude of 5.3, caused landslides and damaged more than 50 homes. At least one person was killed in Sulawesi while several others suffered injuries, local media reported.

Later in the day, a 7.0 magnitude temblor struck 125 miles off the northern coast of Papua province, killing at least two people and destroying more than 20 houses in the town of Serui. The Papua quake, which was followed by aftershocks as strong as 6.4, also triggered a tsunami warning.

Witnesses said hundreds of people living in coastal areas sought higher ground after the tsunami warning was raised. The warning was lifted later in the day.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes as the country lies in what is commonly known as the Pacific Ring of Fire, where an almost continuous series of oceanic trenches and fault lines. Around 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes occur along the ring of fire.