The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude – 7.0 underground quake struck at 6:41 a.m. on Tuesday (2141 GMT) and was cantered 247 kilometers (153 miles) west of Jayapura, the provincial capital of Papua.
Its depth was measured at 52.9 kilometers (32.8 miles) beneath the remote mountainous region of the island.
“Everyone panicked, they were running from their houses,” said Yonas Taufudu, a disaster mitigation official in Jayapura, the capital of Papua province.
Several buildings and houses were either destroyed or damaged.
Communication problems in mountain forests and remote areas were hampering efforts to assess the situation, said Sutopo Purwon Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency. But at least four houses, a church and two buildings were reportedly either destroyed or damaged in Memberamo.
Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire.” A massive earthquake off Sumatra island in 2004 triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries, mostly in Indonesia’s Aceh province.