6.8-magnitude earthquake hits off Indonesia coast; no initial report of damage

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- A strong earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia's Java island on Friday, swaying buildings as far away as the capital and prompting national authorities to urge those in coastal areas to head to higher ground in case of a tsunami. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the magnitude 6.8 quake was centered 151 kilometers (94 miles) from Banten province off the island's southwest coast. It said it hit at a depth of 42.8 kilometers (26.5 miles).

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a tsunami warning, watch or advisory after the quake. Indonesian authorities, however, issued their own.

Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, said the local tsunami alert will remain in place. She called on people living in coastal areas to move to higher ground but she also urged people not to panic.

Buildings in Jakarta swayed for nearly a minute during the evening quake. Television footage showed workers and residents running out of high-rise buildings.

Radio and television reports said people felt a strong quake in Banten province and in Lampung province along the southern part of Sumatra island. The temblor caused a panic among residents in several cities and villages, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The National Disaster Agency spokesman, Agus Wibowo, said they were still gathering information of the damage and injuries.

Hospitals in West Java's cities of Bogor, Ciamis and Cianjur evacuated patients, some attached to intravenous drips, to the hospital grounds, television footage showed.

The quake caused panic in the Pandeglang region of Banten province, where people ran to higher ground. Pandeglang, which encompasses Unjung Kulon National Park and popular beaches, is where a deadly tsunami struck in the dark without warning last December, killing at least 222 people as waves smashed into houses, hotels and other beachside buildings along the Sunda Strait.

That tsunami followed an eruption and a possible landslide on Anaka Krakatau, one of the world's most famous volcanic islands, about 112 kilometers (69.5 miles) southwest of Jakarta.
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