3 dead, IMF summit shaken as strong new quake hits Indonesia

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Patients sit at an open area after an earthquake, at Larasati hospital in Pamekasan, Indonesia, on Thursday. — Reuters

JAKARTA — An earthquake on Thursday killed three people in Indonesia and rattled hotels where IMF delegates are attending a major summit, a fortnight after a quake-tsunami killed more than 2,000 elsewhere in the archipelago.

The 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia’s Bali and Java islands in the early hours, injuring nearly 30 people and sending residents rushing into the streets.

Some attendees in Bali for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings this week evacuated their hotels as the quake shook the island.

“I felt the quake for at least 30 seconds and I panicked. At first I didn’t want to go out but then I decided to leave,” Katharina Sudiyono, an Indonesian attendee at the summit, said.

Peter Jacobs, head of the Indonesian Central Bank’s IMF-World Bank taskforce, said delegates in Bali’s Nusa Dua district for the summit were quickly informed of the situation.

“Many summit participants woke up and asked questions, but we immediately sent out information to them that there had been an earthquake and the impact in Nusa Dua,” he said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries in Bali and the summit proceeded Thursday uninterrupted.

“We send our condolences to those affected by the earthquake. Here in Bali, the earthquake has not caused significant damage nor any disruption to the meetings,” an IMF spokesman said.

The conference center was designed to withstand seismic events, and participants had been told to remain there in the event of a quake.

In case of tsunami risk, attendees would be evacuated to a nearby building.

Holidayers in the island’s popular tourist districts also rushed into the streets as buildings swayed.

“Wow, that was really strong and it lasted a long time,” said one woman who took refuge in a hotel parking lot in Nusa Dua, a few kilometers from where the IMF and World Bank are holding their meetings.

Others in Nusa Dua, south of Bali’s main international airport, also panicked.

“The quake was very big. I immediately woke up and took my little kids out of the house,” Ni Komang Sudiani said.

“All my neighbors were also running, said the mother of two.

Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of Indonesia’s geophysics agency who was also in Nusa Dua for the IMF summit, said no tsunami warning was issued.

“I felt the quake too,” she said. “We are also still gathering data from our team in East Java.’

In East Java, three people were crushed to death in their sleep when the quake brought down buildings and damaged some 210 houses in Sumenep district, East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera said.

In nearby Sampang district, 27 people were injured and 36 houses damaged across eight villages, Mangera added.

The tremor jolted many residents awake and sent them rushing into the streets.

“Everybody panicked and the entire village ran outside. We have never experienced an earthquake as strong as last night,” said Zainurrohman, a 21-year-old from the district who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

“We stayed outside until dawn,” he said.

The tremor’s epicenter was in the Bali Sea around 40 km (25 miles) off the eastern end of Java island, according to the United States Geological Survey. — AFP


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