indonesia_earthquake.jpgA strong, shallow earthquake hit Eastern Indonesia early yesterday, sending residents, hotels guests and patients from a hospital fleeing in panic.

Some homes were damaged, with windows shattered and walls cracked, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

The United States Geological Survey said the 6.2 magnitude quake struck the southeastern tip of Sulawesi Island.

It was centred 75 kilometres from the town of Kendari, just nine kilometers beneath the earth’s crust.

Three strong aftershocks followed.

Lieutenant Laode Surachman, a police officer in Kendari said hotels emptied out and patients in a hospital were evacuated to safety.

A giant earthquake heat Indonesia on December 26 2004 and triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230 000 people.