A strong earthquake has rocked Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua early Tuesday, panicking people with at least one teenager missing after possibly drowning in a river. Several buildings and houses were either destroyed or damaged.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.0 underground quake struck at 6:41 a.m. Tuesday and was centered 153 miles west of Jayapura, the provincial capital of Papua.
Its depth was measured at 32.8 miles beneath the remote mountainous region of the island.
Indonesian authorities and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no tsunami threat from the earthquake
“Everyone panicked, they were running from their houses,” said Yonas Taufudu, a disaster mitigation official in Jayapura.
He said a 15-year-old boy was feared to have drowned after falling into a river close to the epicenter, and electricity was cut in some places, including a hospital, which was briefly evacuated.
Hendra Rahman, an official of the Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said the quake was felt across the province and that the strongest hit area was Sarmi, a town on the northern coast of the island.
Communication problems in mountain forests and remote areas were hampering efforts to assess the situation, said Sutopo Purwon Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency. But at least four houses, a church and two buildings were reportedly either destroyed or damaged in Memberamo.
He said a disaster assessment team and emergency supplies were being flown to the affected areas.
Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location within within the so-called Ring of Fire — an area in the Pacific Ocean basin where there are volcanic eruptions and frequent earthquakes.
A massive earthquake off the island of Sumatra in 2004 triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries, mostly in Indonesia's Aceh province.
Al Jazeera with wire services