YOGYAKARTA (15/11) – A 7.3 SR earthquake struck the northern part of Maluku Islands this morning, as reported from Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi dan Geofisika (BMKG). The earthquake, which happened at 09.31 WIB caused panic among the local residents. Moreover, the enormity of the quake evoked the probability of a tsunami to come afterwards, as seen from BMKG’s website, making local inhabitants flee out of their houses to move to safer places.
On their website, BMKG gave an early warning to some places surrounding the epicenter of the quake: North Maluku, North Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi and Gorontalo. Occupants were then warned to avoid coastal areas to move to higher places in case of a tsunami outbreak. While occupants flee to safety, BMKG noted that a few small tsunamis happened, one in Jailolo (09:43), Manado (09:55) and Tobelo (10:24) all with a height of less than 1 meter. Until this moment, BMKG is still watching the tectonic activities around Maluku to assure that future quakes won’t cause a huge uproar.
A representative of Ikatan Ahli Bencana Indonesia (IABI) Irwan Meilano, as quoted from CNN Indonesia, stated that the quake happened due to a double subduction from the Philippines sea-plate and the Eurasian sea-plate which happened somewhere around the Maluku sea-plate. An early prediction from Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB) stated that tsunamis are predicted to hit Maluku’s surroundings, assuring inhabitants to move out for safety. An following quake was noted on 11:06, with its epicenter at the West Halamahera Sea with a power of 5.1 SR.
The quake caused quite an uproar since Indonesians were not yet able to forget the enormity of loss which happened on December 26. 2004 in Aceh. The tsunami happened after a 9.3 SR quake happened in the western part of Aceh, causing a loss of more than 250.000 lives. This traumatic experience will forever be carved into the minds of the people of the world. Reacting to the Maluku quake, several foreign online news medias reported their anxiousness of the aftermaths of the quake. As posted on chinadaily.com, residents of the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Marshall Islands and even Okinawa (Japan) are warned for tsunamis to come.
Luckily, the panic didn’t last long. Shortly after the sea became calmer, BMKG’s Head of (Monitoring) Earthquake and Tsunami, Riyadi, stated that the sea condition is already stable and doesn’t show any signs of tsunamis to occur, which means that the tsunami warning for Maluku and its surroundings is over and that occupants can come back to their homes again, safely. For the meantime, we can rest assured that no additional warnings of tsunamis will occur.