JAKARTA, Feb 12, 2016:

A powerful 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Indonesia late Friday, but no tsunami warning was immediately issued, US seismologists said.

The earthquake hit at 5.02pm local time (1002 GMT Friday), the US Geological Survey said, and was centred three kilometres (two miles) east-southeast of Andekantor in the Sumba region at a depth of 30km.

The Indonesian disaster mitigation agency said there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said he had not been able to contact anyone from the affected area since all communication with West Sumba Regency through satellite phone, mobile phone and radio had been cut off.

He said that the communications infrastructure in the affected area was already limited due to its remote location.

“Until now we are still trying to collect the information on the impact, there have been no reports on fatalities and damages so far,” Nugroho said.

In the neighbouring island of Sumbawa the earthquake was felt strongly for 15 seconds and caused people to flee their homes in panic.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity in the region.

A 6.9-magnitude quake that struck in the Banda Sea in December sparked panic but there were no reports of damage or casualties.

In November a 6.1-magnitude undersea earthquake that struck eastern Indonesia also prompted some residents to run outside but had no tsunami potential, disaster officials said.

Earlier the same month, two powerful quakes struck Sumatra — an initial 6.1-magnitude undersea tremor followed hours later by a strong 6.4-magnitude quake.

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