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Aftershocks continue to rattle Moluccas islands after quake kills two

JAKARTA Indonesia's Moluccas islands were hit by scores of aftershocks yesterday after an earthquake killed at least two people, prompting hundreds of people to flee their homes.

Rescue teams struggled to reach parts of the area hit by the quake in eastern Indonesia on Sunday because of its remote location, and warned the death toll could rise.

Indonesia's meteorology agency recorded Sunday's quake at a magnitude of 7.2 at a shallow depth of 10 km on the southern part of Halmahera in the North Moluccas. The quake was also felt in Sulawesi and in Papua.

Around 2,000 people had been displaced, while at least 58 houses had been damaged, said Mr Agus Wibowo, a spokesman for Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

Around 28,000 people live in the zone closest to the epicentre. Two bridges were also damaged by the quake, he said.

As of yesterday, 66 aftershocks had been recorded and some people in South Halmahera were still taking refuge on higher ground fearful of a tsunami, he added.

Indonesia sits on the seismically active Pacific "Ring of Fire" and is frequently hit by earthquakes and sometimes tsunamis.- REUTERS

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