A woman inspects the damage following an earthquake in Ambon, Maluku province, Indonesia, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. The strong earthquake Thursday killed a number of people and damaged a bridge, hospital and other buildings on one of Indonesia's less populated islands. Photo: AP Photo.

Jakarta - At least 20 people were killed and 107 injured when a magnitude-6.5 earthquake struck the Molucca islands in eastern Indonesia on Thursday, officials said.

Dozens of buildings were also damaged in the quake that sent residents fleeing their homes in Ambon, the main city in Maluku province, said Agus Wibowo, spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency.  

About 2,000 people were displaced, he said.

"Urgent needs include tents, baby food, medicines, blankets and water," Agus said. 

Earlier in the day, a local disaster official, Alberth Simaela, said residents chose to stay outdoors because of rumours of an impending bigger quake. 

Photos distributed by the disaster management agency showed buildings with ceilings fallen down and residents sitting on mats outdoors.  

"The quake occurred on land and can cause damage to buildings that are not earthquake-proof," agency Agus said. 

The quake struck at 8:46 am (2346 GMT Wednesday) with an epicentre 36.9 kilometres north-east of Ambon, at a depth of 29 kilometres, according to the US Geological Survey.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area known for seismic upheavals and volcanic eruptions.