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Two killed as magnitude 6.1 quake rattles Indonesia's Sumatra island

A handout photo from the Board for Disaster Management (BPBD) in Pasaman shows a damaged house after the 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck Pasaman, West Sumatra, Indonesia, 25 February 2022.

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake jolted Indonesia’s western province of Sumatra early on Friday, killing at least two people and injuring several others.

The quake, which was reportedly not powerful enough to trigger a tsunami alert, was reported at around 8:39 am local time (01:39 GMT), with an epicenter at 17 km northeast of Pasaman Barat district, news reports quoted the country’s meteorology, climatology, and geophysics agency as saying.

Tremors were felt across the island country, as well as in neighboring Singapore and Malaysia, according to local officials. People in the city of Padang in West Sumatra province were forced to flee the buildings.

Local authorities released images that showed homes razed to the ground and a school in the West Pasaman district with its ceiling blown away.

The quake also caused a landslide that damaged residential properties in the district, officials said.

Indonesia’s disaster management agency chief, Suharyanto, confirmed the two deaths and said buildings including a government office, homes and a bank had suffered extensive damage.

"For now we have information that two people died and 20 others were injured," Suharyanto, the head of the National Disaster Management Agency told the media on Friday.

At least 15 aftershocks were reported after the quake, which caused damages to several residential, commercial, and office buildings, Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of Indonesia's geophysics agency BMKG, said in a virtual briefing.

Karnawati said the agency was dispatching a team to monitor the situation. 

"We continue to monitor and advise people to remain on alert," Karnawati was quoted as saying by Indonesia’s MetroTV.

The agency had initially put the magnitude of the earthquake at 6.2.

In neighboring Singapore, authorities reportedly received calls from people regarding tremors, though there were no reports of casualties.

"Earth tremors were... felt in certain parts of Singapore at about 9:45 a.m.," a statement from Singapore’s police said on Friday.

Indonesia, which straddles the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", is a highly seismically active zone, and prone to earthquakes.

In 2009, a major earthquake devastated parts of Padang, killing more than a thousand people.

In 2004, a massive 9.1 magnitude earthquake and a tsunami in northern Sumatra killed 226,000 people in Indonesia, and neighboring countries including Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.

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