IMF summit shaken as quake hits venue
An earthquake yesterday killed three people in Indonesia and rattled hotels where IMF delegates are attending a major summit, a fortnight after a quake-tsunami killed more than 2,000 elsewhere in the archipelago. The 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia’s Bali and Java islands in the early hours, jolting residents awake and sending them rushing into the streets. Some attendees in Bali for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings this week evacuated their hotels as the quake shook the island. “I felt the quake for at least 30 seconds and I panicked. At first I didn’t want to go out but then I decided to leave,” Katharina Sudiyono, an Indonesian attendee at the summit, told AFP.
Peter Jacobs, head of the Indonesian Central Bank’s IMFWorld Bank taskforce, said delegates in Bali’s Nusa Dua district for the summit were quickly informed of the situation. “Many summit participants woke up and asked questions, but we immediately sent out information to them that there had been an earthquake and the impact in Nusa Dua,” he said. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries in Bali and the summit proceeded Thursday uninterrupted.
“We send our condolences to those affected by the earthquake. Here in Bali, the earthquake has not caused significant damage nor any disruption to the meetings,” an IMF spokesman said. The conference centre was designed to withstand seismic events, and participants had been told to remain there in the event of a quake. In case of tsunami risk, attendees would be evacuated to a nearby building. Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of Indonesia’s geophysics agency who was also in Nusa Dua for the IMF summit, said no tsunami warning was issued.
“I felt the quake too,” she said. “We are also still gathering data from our team in East Java.’ In East Java, three people were crushed to death in their sleep when the quake brought down buildings in Sumenep district and sent people fleeing their homes. “Everybody panicked and the entire village ran outside. We have never experienced an earthquake as strong as last night,” Zainurrohman, a 21-year-old from the district told AFP. “We stayed outside until dawn,” he said. Many Indonesians go by one name. The tremor’s epicentre was in the Bali Sea around 40 kilometres (25 miles) off the eastern end of Java island, according to the United States Geological Survey.