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7.3 quake hits Indonesia again, but this time residents are better prepared

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Heri Juanda/AP

(Read caption) Local residents wait for evacuation on a roadside following an earthquake in Banda Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia, early Wednesday. A 7.3 quake earthquake hit waters off western Indonesia early Wednesday, prompting officials to briefly issue a tsunami warning. Panicked residents ran from their homes, some fleeing to high ground by car or motorcycle, but there were no reports of injuries or serious damage.

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Just hours after a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of western Indonesia early Wednesday morning, stirring panic and a tsunami alert but leaving no visible damage, life had returned to normal. 

It was a forceful reminder for residents of Banda Aceh, the city closest to the devastating 2004 earthquake and Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 230,00 across South East Asia.

But despite lingering fears of the Dec. 26, 2004 monster wave that killed roughly 170,000 people in Aceh alone and altered the social fabric of the region, Rahmadi, who owns a small perfume shop in Banda Aceh says people are more prepared than they were a little over six years ago because of government programs.

“My parents put all our important things to a bag, and they know which road to use to escape,” says Rahmadi.

The US Geological Survey reported that the quake struck after midnight 261 miles southwest of the provincial capital of Aceh. On the nearby island of Simeulue, where the quake registered a 7.6 magnitude, according to Indonesia’s meteorology and geophysics agency, a hospital evacuated patients as a precaution.

Rahmadi says the earthquake was longer than smaller ones that routinely hit the area.

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