Jakarta, Dec 16 (IANS) At least two people have been killed as multiple earthquakes jolted coastal cities of Indonesia's West Java province and damaged dozens of houses, disaster management officials said on Saturday.

The initial earthquake measuring 4.5-magnitude occurred 48 km southwest of West Java city Sukabumi at 11.04 p.m. on Friday at a depth of 50 km, Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said.

The second earthquake with a huge scale of 7.3 occurred around 42 minutes later with epicentre at 74 km southwest of Kawalu, at a depth of 105 km in the province's Tasikmalaya regency, Xinhua news agency reported.

The third earthquake with 6.9 magnitude took place almost at the same time, also in Tasikmalaya with epicentre located in 11 km southwest of Tasikmalaya at a depth of 107 km.

The BMKG agency issued tsunami warning in three provinces of West Java, Central Java and Yogyakarta after the second earthquake took place and called it off two hours later.

Indonesia's Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said two people in West Java and Central Java province were killed in the earthquake.

"Areas mostly affected the most by the earthquakes were Pangandaran, Tasikmalaya, Ciamis, Banjar, Garut, Cilacap, Kebumen, Pekalongan, Banyumas, Brebes and Banjarnegara," Nugroho said, naming the regencies in West and Central Java provinces hit the most by the disaster.

Nugroho added that the earthquakes left at least seven injured, collapsed and damaged more than 100 houses in the two provinces.

In 2004, a powerful quake in the northern part of Sumatra Island triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed around 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of great seismic and volcanic activity in which some 7,000 earthquakes are recorded each year, although most are moderate.

--IANS

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