Indonesian Earthquakes Kill at least 3

jakarta postIndonesian officials say at least three people are dead after a series of strong earthquakes Wednesday.

The U.S. Geological Survey says shortly after noon local time a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck 195 kilometers off the northern coast of Papua province, about 29 kilometers beneath the ocean floor. At least five strong aftershocks followed, measuring between magnitude 6.4 and 4.9.

More than 20 houses collapsed in Yapen district, and two bodies were pulled from the wreckage.

Indonesia's meteorological agency briefly issued a tsunami warning after the first quake.

Local authorities say the quake triggered panic in Papua, where people fled their homes seeking higher ground.

About four hours earlier one person was killed in West Sulawesi province when a magnitude 5.3 quake struck.

A tsunami triggered by a massive undersea earthquake in the Indian Ocean in December, 2004 killed nearly 230,000 people, half of them on Indonesia's Aceh province.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, Reuters and Jakrta Post.