Indonesia earthquake: Tsunami warning after strong tremor shakes Jakarta

Epicentre of magnitude-6.8 earthquake off the islands of Sumatra and Java

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A powerful earthquake struck off the southern coast of Indonesia's heavily populated Java island on Friday, with the country's disaster agency warning that it could generate a tsunami.

The US Geological Survey said the 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit at a depth of 59 kilometres, about 227km from the city of Teluk Betung in Banten province on the island of Java.

Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency said on its Twitter feed that residents on the Banten coast should "immediately evacuate to higher ground".

Authorities warned it could cause three-metre waves.

There are some areas at risk of a serious threat of a tsunami that could be as high as three metres," said agency official Rahmat Triyono.

"We're still waiting for reports about damage" from the quake, he added.

The epicentre of the earthquake off Java Island, Indonesia, on August 2, 2019. USGS
The epicentre of the earthquake off Java Island, Indonesia, on August 2, 2019. USGS

Residents in Jakarta, the capital, fled their homes as buildings in the megacity swayed from the force of the earthquake.

"The chandelier in my apartment was shaking and I just ran from the 19th floor," said a 50-year-old resident.

Everybody else ran too. It was a really strong jolt and I was very scared."

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, but strong tremors were felt in Jakarta, the capital, prompting people to run out of office buildings.

At least two people were killed and thousands were forced from their homes after a major 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit the remote Maluku islands in eastern Indonesia this month.

Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

Last year, a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island killed more than 2,200 people, with another thousand declared missing.

On December 26, 2004, a devastating 9.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 across the Indian Ocean region, including around 170,000 in Indonesia.

UAE issues travel advisory

The UAE embassy in Jakarta urged Emiratis to avoid the Banten Coast on Java and Sumatra islands.

The embassy also provided an emergency phone number +62 21 5206528