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 7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Papua, killing one

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BerichtOnderwerp: 7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Papua, killing one   wo 29 jul 2015 - 5:38

The Jakarta Post, Jayapura, Wed, July 29 2015

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake jolted the northern part of New Guinea Island on Tuesday morning, claiming at least one life and creating brief panic among local residents.

The epicenter of the quake, which took place at 6:21 a.m., was located 75 kilometers southeast of Mamberamo Raya regency, Papua, and 81 kilometers northeast of Tolikara regency, also in Papua, at a depth of 49 kilometers, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

“The quake was felt [by local residents] at a very strong intensity for four seconds,” BNPB spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

Several hours after the quake, Mamberamo Jaya Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Marthen Rumbino reported that one person, identified as 15-year-old Naftali Kurukweri, had died as a result of the quake.

“The victim fell into the Heri River when the earthquake happened. The victim’s body was eventually recovered at 9 a.m. local time,” Marthen said.

Mamberamo Jaya is located 300 kilometers west of the provincial capital of Jayapura.

Mamberamo Raya regency administration telecommunications officer Yance Rumaikewi said the incident occurred in the remote Heri village in Central Mamberamo district, which is located very far from the regency’s capital of Kasonaweja, making it difficult for local officials to immediately gather information from the area about any other possible casualties.

“The area can only be reached by speedboat. The terrain is very difficult. It takes two to three days to reach the area,” Yance told The Jakarta Post.

The quake, according to Marthen, also damaged three homes, a warehouse and a hospital in Kasonaweja.

The quake was also felt in several other regions in the province. In Jayapura, residents immediately left their houses when the tremor occurred. The city, however, reported no damage.

Hundreds of students participating in a regional camping event in Sarmi regency also felt the tremor.

“We were doing our morning exercises together when the quake hit,” Lina, one of the event participants, said.

Last month, a 5.0 magnitude earthquake also shook Sarmi, according to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

Merlyn, a resident of Kobagma, the capital of Central Mamberamo regency, also felt the Tuesday’s tremor.

“The tremor was strong. Lucky it didn’t cause any damage,” Merlyn told the Post by phone.

Despite the minor damage caused by the quake, BMKG Jayapura head Slamet Suyitno Rahardjo reminded local residents to stay alert for aftershocks.

“After the first quake, two aftershocks, of 4.6 and 4.8 magnitude, occurred and had the same quake epicenter,” he said.

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