Indonesia quake toll jumps to 17

Jakarta - The death toll from last week’s powerful earthquakes that struck Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua has risen to 17, the National Disaster Management Agency said Monday.

The series of quakes on Wednesday, the strongest of which measured 7.1 on the Richter scale, also left 15 people injured, about 3,500 houses damaged and more than 4,600 people displaced, the agency said.

The main quake triggered a tsunami warning, but the alert was lifted an hour later.

Papua is jungle-clad and sparsely populated, and some areas cannot be accessed by land.

A magnitude-8.2 quake struck in December 2004 off the Indonesian island of Sumatra and caused a tsunami that spread death and destruction across the Indian Ocean. More than 170,000 people perished in Aceh province alone.

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Indonesia sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, one of the most active areas for earthquakes and volcanic activity in the world.