Magnitude 6.5 earthquake shook Indonesia's most populous island of Java and triggered a tsunami warning that was lifted about two hours later.

A man cleans up the wreckage of a house damaged by an earthquake in Sumelap Village, Tasikmalaya City, West Java, Indonesia December 16, 2017.
A man cleans up the wreckage of a house damaged by an earthquake in Sumelap Village, Tasikmalaya City, West Java, Indonesia December 16, 2017. (Reuters)

A powerful magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck the island of Java in Indonesia just before midnight on Friday, with authorities reporting three deaths and damage to hundreds of buildings.

The US Geological Survey said the epicentre of the quake was located at a depth of 92 kilometres, about 52 kilometres southwest of Tasikmalaya.

Indonesia's national disaster management agency said the quake activated early tsunami warning systems in the south of Java, prompting evacuations in some coastal areas, but no tsunami was detected.

Tremors were felt in central and west Java and a series of aftershocks stoked panic.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the disaster agency, said in a statement on Saturday that three people had been killed, seven injured and more than 100 buildings damaged, including a hospital in Central Java.

Dozens of patients had to be helped to safety from a hospital in Banyumas and were given shelter in tents, he said.

He posted on his Twitter page photos of people scouring collapsed buildings.

The quake swayed buildings for several seconds in the capital Jakarta. Some residents of high rise apartment buildings in central Jakarta quickly escaped their apartments, local media reported.

Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency said a magnitude 5.7 quake early on Saturday also struck south of West Java. It said the quake did not have tsunami potential.

Java, Indonesia’s most densely populated island, is home to more than half of its 250 million people.

The country sits on the "Pacific Ring of Fire" and has frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies