The disaster mitigation agency said one person was injured in Manggarai, on Flores, and a school building and several homes were damaged on Selayar island, in South Sulawesi.

USGS says the quake struck around at a 100 kilometres in the north of the town of Maumere.
USGS says the quake struck around at a 100 kilometres in the north of the town of Maumere. (AFP)

Indonesia has lifted a tsunami alert following a magnitude 7.3 undersea earthquake that struck off Flores Island, triggering panic in a region prone to fatal quakes but apparently causing no major damage or casualties.

The US Geological Survey said the Tuesday's quake struck around 100 kilometres north of the town of Maumere at a depth of 18.5 kilometres in the Flores Sea at 0320 GMT.

The disaster mitigation agency said one person was injured in Manggarai, on Flores, and a school building and several homes were damaged on Selayar island, in South Sulawesi.

"Everyone ran out into the street," Agustinus Florianus, a resident of Maumere town on Flores, said. 

"It felt like a wave, up and down," Zacharias Gentana Keranz, a resident of Flores said.

Tsunami alert lifted

After an initial tsunami alert, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii and later Indonesia's meteorological agency lifted the warning about two hours after the quake .

“The earlier earthquake no longer has a tsunami potential. But it is very possible there'll be aftershocks, hopefully not stronger than before,” Dwikorita Karnawati, head of Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency, said.

Indonesia experiences frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions due to its position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", an arc of intense seismic activity where tectonic plates collide that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin. 

READ MORE: Indonesia death toll climbs after Sulawesi hit by earthquake, landslides

Deadly quakes

Among Indonesia's string of deadly quakes was a devastating 2004 9.1-magnitude tremor that struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including about 170,000 in Indonesia.

The Boxing Day disaster was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.

In 2018, a powerful quake shook the island of Lombok and several more tremors followed over the next couple of weeks, killing more than 550 people on the holiday island and neighbouring Sumbawa.

Later that year, a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island left more than 4,300 people dead or missing.

The last major earthquake was in January, a magnitude 6.2 that killed at least 105 people and injured nearly 6,500 in West Sulawesi province.

READ MORE: Casualties as earthquake strikes Indonesia's Bali

Source: AFP