Sixteen people were killed and 100 injured, many seriously, yesterday after a succession of earthquakes measuring at least 6 on the Richter scale rocked an island in eastern Indonesia, police said.
The first quake on the island of Alor, 1,000km east of the resort isle of Bali struck at about 4:26am, meteorology officials said.
The Observatory of Earth Sciences in Strasbourg put the quake's magnitude at 7.3. Alor police spokesman Ebet de Fretes said it was followed by three equally powerful aftershocks.
Another policeman, Michael Mataheru, said at least 100 people were hospitalised for serious and minor injuries as aftershocks continued.
"Everyone is still panicked by the quake. Many people have left their homes and they are huddling together on a soccer field," Mataheru told reporters.
At least 64 homes and other buildings were damaged.
The state Antara news agency quoted district chief Ans Takalapeta as saying that the death toll could rise because he had not received reports of damage or casualties from remote areas.