Motorists are stuck in traffic as people rush to the higher ground following an earthquake in Luwuk, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, April 12, 2019.
Motorists are stuck in traffic as people rush to the higher ground following an earthquake in Luwuk, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, April 12, 2019.

Indonesia lifted a tsunami warning but urged people to remain vigilant and evacuate to higher ground after an earthquake of magnitude 6.8 struck off the coast of its island of Sulawesi.

Indonesia suffered its highest death toll in natural disasters in more than a decade last year, following two major tsunamis and several earthquakes, with more than 3,000 killed in Palu, also in Central Sulawesi, the site of Friday's earthquake.

The geophysics agency lifted the warning around 40 minutes after it was imposed, it said on Twitter.

Sulawesi, Indonesia earthquake map

In the twin quake-and-tsunami tragedy that hit Palu in September last year, high waves hit the shore after the tsunami warning had been lifted. More than 2,000 people were killed. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from the quake, which hit 280 km (175 miles) south of the province of Gorontalo at a depth of 43 km, the agency added.

The quake was felt strongly in the nickel mining region of Morowali. Vale, with a nickel smelter, and Donggi-Senoro with an LNG plant, said operations were running as normal.

Injured people are treated at Poso General Hospita
Injured people are treated at Poso General Hospital, in central Sulawesi, Indonesia after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit the island, April 12, 2019. (Photo: Yoanes Litha / VOA Indonesian service)

The quake was "strong and long lasting," Gina Saerang, a resident of Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi province, several hundred kilometers from the epicenter, said on social media.