At least 20 people have been killed in a magnitude 6.5 earthquake on one of Indonesia’s least populated islands.
The quake hit at 6:46 a.m. local time Thursday about 20.5 miles northeast of Ambon in Indonesia’s Maluku province, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency said dozens of homes, a number of buildings and other public facilities were damaged, including a major bridge in Ambon, Reuters reported.
A teacher was killed when parts of a building at an Islamic university collapsed, according to The Associated Press.
“He was just getting out of a car and entering a door and the collapsing rubble fell onto him,” Benny Bugis, a cameraman who works for Reuters, said. He also said two people were injured.
Agus Wibowo, a spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency, said at least 19 others were killed and about 100 were injured. He said more than 2,000 people took refuge in various shelters.
Rahmat Triyono, head of the earthquake and tsunami division at Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency, told the AFP news agency the earthquake did not have the potential to cause a tsunami. Still people along the coast fled to higher ground.
“The tremor was so strong, causing us to pour into the streets,” said Musa, an Ambon resident who uses a single name.
Maluku is one of Indonesia’s least populous provinces with a population of about 1.7 million people.
The earthquake Thursday came two days ahead of the first anniversary of a magnitude 7.5 earthquake in Palu on Sulawesi island that killed more than 4,000 people.
Indonesia sits on the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire and often experiences deadly earthquakes and tsunamis.
In 2004, a powerful Indian Ocean quake and tsunami killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia.