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Panic in Indonesia as new quakes send residents fleeing on Sumba island

Published: Updated:

Two quakes struck in quick succession off the southern coast of Indonesia's Sumba island on Tuesday morning, sending startled people into the streets for safety.

A shallow and moderately strong 5.9 quake struck at 2359 GMT, around 40 kilometers (25 miles) off Sumba, an island of some 750,000 people, the United States Geological Survey said.

It was followed up some 15 minutes later by a stronger 6.0 magnitude quake in the same area at a depth of 30 kilometers.

There were no immediate reports of serious damage.

"We felt four shakes. People were panicking when the first quake happened and ran out of the hotel, about 40 of our guests," Defis Rinaldi, a worker at the Padadita Beach Hotel told AFP by telephone.

"It was only a few seconds and the geophysics agency didn't issue a warning, everything is back to normal now," he said.

Sumba lies some 1,600 kilometers south of Sulawesi island which was struck by a devastating quake and tsunami on Friday.

The Indonesian government on Tuesday said the death toll from a devastating quake-tsunami on the island of Sulawesi had risen to 1,234 people, up from the previous count of 844.

"As of 1:00 pm there are 1,234 dead," said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the national disaster agency spokesman.