Several people were also injured in the quake which measured 6.9 of the Richter scale.

"According to information gained from the hospital, the number of people killed by the quake is now eight," B.Rumbiak, the meteorology station chief at Nabire said.

"Thirty-seven injured people have already gone home, and 37 others are in tents near the hospital," he said, adding that there had been 11 aftershocks.

Epicentre

The coastal town of Nabire was about seven kilometres from where Indonesian earthquake centre officials placed the epicenter of the quake.

"The victims died because of fallen houses and buildings which could not endure earthquakes. And it was quite a heavy quake," an official of the national earthquake centre said.

The official said the casualty count may climb as damage assessments continue.

"The doors shook and lots of stuff fell from the table," said an official at the Manokwari meteorology station.

Rugged but resource-rich Papua is 3,000km east of Indonesia's capital Jakarta.