A strong earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter Scale struck off the Indonesian Aceh province on the northern end of Sumatra on Sunday, sparking panic among residents and cutting off power.

A tsunami warning was issued but was later lifted after no major waves materialised.

The quake was recorded at 12.59 pm (12.29 pm IST) with the epicentre 66 km south-west of Meulaboh in West Aceh district, according to the Meteorology, Geophysics and Climatology Agency.

Minor damage was reported, including a broken window and cracked wall at the Banda Aceh airport, but did not disrupt operations, said Transportation Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

A blackout was reported in North Aceh regency and Meulaboh — the closest town with the quake’s epicentre — where a telephone line was also cut off, local media reported.

The quake caused panic among residents in many areas on Aceh, with local media reporting that people in several districts of the province fled their homes.

Fauzi, head of the Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System, said there was no threat of a major tsunami and the warning had been lifted.

Mr. Fauzi, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, earlier said sea buoys indicated a 20-cm tsunami in the sea off Meulaboh.

Wandi, another official in Meulaboh, told Elshinta radio that he had not received any reports of damage or casualties.

“The situation is calm and we call on the people to remain calm,” he told the radio station.

The quake was also felt strongly in the neighbouring provinces of North Sumatra and Riau.

Local television showed residents in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra, scrambling out of shopping malls in Medan.

It was the latest in a series of earthquakes to hit Aceh in recent months. In early April, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Simeulue Island off the western coast of Aceh, injuring more than a dozen people and damaging scores of homes.

A magnitude-9.2 quake struck in December 2004 off Aceh and caused a tsunami that spread death and destruction across the Indian Ocean.

More than 170,000 people died or went missing in Aceh alone.

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