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Quakes hit eastern Indonesia; at least one dies

Residents inspect a collapsed hotel after an earthquake struck in Manokwari, Papua, Indonesia, on Sunday. A series of powerful earthquakes at dawn killed a 10-year-old girl and injured dozens more, cutting power lines and badly damaging buildings.

Associated Press

Residents inspect a collapsed hotel after an earthquake struck in Manokwari, Papua, Indonesia, on Sunday. A series of powerful earthquakes at dawn killed a 10-year-old girl and injured dozens more, cutting power lines and badly damaging buildings.

MANOKWARI, Indonesia — A series of powerful earthquakes killed a 10-year-old girl and injured dozens in remote eastern Indonesia on Sunday and briefly triggered fears of another tsunami in a country still recovering from 2004's deadly waves.

One of the quakes — a 7.3-magnitude tremor — was felt as far away as Australia and sent small tsunamis into Japan's southeastern coast.

Officials initially reported four deaths, but later discovered three people had died from illnesses. Some 135 homes and other buildings were badly damaged or toppled in the province. Power lines fell, cutting off electricity, and the runway of Manokwari's Rendani airport was cracked, prompting the cancellation of commercial flights.

Japan reported tsunamis between 4 inches and 16 inches high hitting its shores.

A huge quake off western Indonesia caused the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed about 230,000 people, more than half of them on the western Indonesian island of Sumatra. Four years on, the multibillion dollar rebuilding process is almost complete.

Residents in Papua's Manokwari — a jumble of low-lying brick and cement structures home to 167,000 people — remained jittery late Sunday, with thousands prepared to sleep outside for fear of aftershocks.

Local officials drove through the streets warning people not to return to structures that might be vulnerable in aftershocks.

The Indonesian health ministry was sending an aid team to Manokwari on Sunday night as well as 4 tons of medical supplies and baby food, spokeswoman Lily Sulistyowati said.

Relief agency World Vision Indonesia was flying in 2,000 emergency provision kits, including canned food, blankets and basic medical supplies, said spokeswoman Katarina Hardono.

The National Disaster Coordination Agency said 135 houses and buildings were badly damaged or collapsed.

Papua is among the nation's least developed areas, and a low-level insurgency has simmered in the resource-rich region for years. It is off limits to foreign reporters.

Indonesia straddles a chain of fault lines and volcanoes known as the Pacific "Ring of Fire" and is prone to seismic activity.

The quake was felt 800 miles southwest of Papua in Australia's northern city of Darwin, but no damage was reported there.

Quakes hit eastern Indonesia; at least one dies 01/04/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 9:14am]

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