Strong Earthquake in West Sumatra Felt in Malaysia and Singapore

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Casualties include two fatalities and up to 20 injuries suffered in West Pasaman, Sumatra.

A relatively powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia’s Sumatra island in the West Pasaman regency today, Friday, February 25. Though no tsunami warnings were issued, the morning quake was felt in the neighbouring provinces of Riau and North Sumatra, and as far away as Singapore and Malaysia.

Two fatalities have been reported, and up to 20 people suffered from various injuries in West Pasaman.

Describing the disaster as a “shallow crustal earthquake,” Indonesia Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency’s (BMKG) chief Dwikorita Karnawati said at a media briefing in Jakarta: “[This type of] earthquake does not potentially trigger a tsunami.”

Police officers help to evacuate patients after a magnitude 6.2 earthquake damaged a local hospital in West Pasaman, in Indonesia's West Sumatra province on February 25, 2022. AFPPIX
Injured residents getting taken away for treatment in West Pasaman, in Indonesia’s West Sumatra province | Image Credit: AFPPIX / The Sun Daily

Indonesians in the affected areas have been urged to stay away from slopes and cliffs, as the aftershocks may cause landslides and rock falls, especially during rain.

Malaysians reported on social feeling tremors in Selangor around 9.43am local time in areas such as Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam, and Klang. Witnesses reported seeing furniture and fixtures shaking and trembling, and several buildings were reported evacuating all personnel for safety.

The Meteorological Department said that tremors were also felt in Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Johor, and up to Pahang.

The Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Department also said in a statement it received 20 emergency calls between 9.45am and 10.45 am regarding the tremors. Fire stations in Kuala Lumpur were directed to attend to all calls regarding the safety of the occupants in the affected buildings.

“So far we have not received any calls involving damage to structures or occupants being hurt,” they assured the media.

Indonesia is no stranger to seismic events, and has been the scene of some of the most powerful volcanic eruptions and earthquakes in human history. In 2004, a staggering 9.2-magnitude undersea megathrust earthquake struck off Sumatra’s west coast on December 26, triggering the devastating Indian Ocean Boxing Day disaster. The quake was the third-largest in recorded history, and combined with the resultant tsunami, caused nearly 230,000 deaths across more than a dozen countries. Peninsular Malaysia was largely shielded from the full force of the tsunami by Sumatra’s landmass, but still suffered about 70 fatalities as a result, mostly on the northwestern coasts and islands of the Peninsula.

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