(JAKARTA, Indonesia) — A strong earthquake Thursday killed one person and damaged a hospital, university and bridge on one of Indonesia’s less populated islands.
Parts of a building at an Islamic university collapsed in Ambon, the capital of Maluku province. Local disaster official Albert Simaela told The Associated Press a teacher was killed when parts of the building fell on her.
Simaela said a main hospital in the city was damaged and patients were evacuated to outdoor tents in the hospital’s yard.
The magnitude 6.5 quake was centered 37 kilometers (23 miles) northeast of Ambon at a depth of 29 kilometers (18 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey said.
Rahmat Triyono, the head of Indonesia’s earthquake and tsunami center, said the inland earthquake did not have the potential to cause a tsunami, but witnesses told television stations that people along coastal areas ran to higher ground in fear one might occur.
Simaela said many people drove to higher ground by motorbike and car, causing traffic congestion in Ambon.
“The temblor was so strong, causing us poured into the streets,” said Musa, an Ambon resident who uses a single name. He said there were no damages or injuries in his neighborhood, but he said people on social media chatted about damage elsewhere in the city.
The national disaster mitigation agency said authorities are still gathering information about damage and injuries at several affected areas. It said the quake had caused cracks in a main bridge in Ambon, and pictures released by the agency showed minor damage at Pattimura University in the city. Two houses and a local government office were also damaged.
With a population of around 1.7 million, Maluku is one of Indonesia’s least populous provinces.
Indonesia, home to more than 260 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions due to its location along the “Ring of Fire,” the string of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean.
A powerful Indian Ocean quake and tsunami in 2004 killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia.