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Indonesia earthquake: Alert on but disaster panel rules out tsunami in Indian Ocean

Tsunami alert put in place in Indian Ocean after 8.7 earthquake hits waters off Aceh,Indonesia.

Written by Agencies | Banda Aceh,new Delhi |
April 11, 2012 2:44:39 pm

India has ruled out any tidal wave hitting its eastern coast,nearly two hours after a massive earthquake off Indonesia triggered a tsnumai watch in the Indian Ocean.

Earthquake tremors felt in several cities across South India

Earthquake in Arabian Sea,155 km from Mumbai

By early evening,the National Disaster Management Authority said there was no longer a likelihood of a tsunami forming anywhere in the Indian Ocean.

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NDMA vice president Sashidhar Reddy said no waves had so far been noticed in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

A tsunami watch was issued for countries across the Indian Ocean on Wednesday after a large earthquake hit waters off Indonesia,sending residents pouring from their homes in panic.

Tremors were felt in several cities in India where a tsunami warning has been issued for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The US Geological Survey said the 8.7-magnitude quake was centred 20 miles (33 kilometres) beneath the ocean floor around 269 miles (434 kilometers) from Aceh’s provincial capital.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii said a tsunami watch was in effect for Indonesia,India,Sri Lanka,Australia,Myanmar,Thailand,the Maldives and other Indian Ocean islands,Malaysia,Pakistan,Somalia,Oman,Iran,Bangladesh,Kenya,South Africa and Singapore.

A tsunami watch means there is the potential for a tsunami,not that one is imminent.

“Earthquakes of this size have the potential to generate a widespread destructive tsunami that can affect coastlines across the entire Indian Ocean basin,” the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

The US Geological Survey said an 8.7-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra at 1408 IST at a depth of 33 kilometers. USGS had initially reported it as an 8.9-magnitude quake.

The tsunami warning center said it had not yet ascertained whether a tidal wave had been generated but that one was likely given the strength of the temblor,and advised local authorities to take “appropriate action.”

Said,an official at Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency who goes by only one name,said a tsunami warning has been issued for cities all along the coast of Sumatra island.

The tremor was felt in Singapore,Thailand,Bangladesh,Malaysia and India. High-rise apartments and offices on Malaysia’s west coast shook for at least a minute.

People in Banda Aceh screamed ”God is great!” as they jumped into cars and the backs of motorcycles,clogging streets as they fled to high ground.

Indonesia straddles a series of fault lines that makes the vast island nation prone to volcanic and seismic activity.

A giant 9.1-magnitude quake off the country on December 26,2004,triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people,nearly three quarter of them in Aceh.

In India,the Earth Sciences Ministry and the National Disaster Management Authority had initially issued a tsunami warning for Andaman and Nicobar Island and an alert to coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Later,in subsequent bulletions,the two organisations virtually ruled out tsunami in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and elsewhere in the country.

“There is no specific threat. It was a watch and alert. There is no likelihood of any tsunami in the Indian Ocean region,” NDMA Vice President Sashidhar Reddy told PTI.

He said the earthquake that struck the Sumatra islands was not the kind of tremors that usually triggers tsunami tidal waves.

“It is the kind of strike-and-slip earthquake which does not trigger tsunami. There was no vertical displacement of water under the sea,” he said.

“The possibility of a tsunami is virtually ruled out,” he said,adding the Andaman and Nicobar Islands administration and the Army stationed there had informed NDMA there was so far no waves in the island.

The initial projections issued by the Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) showed the tidal waves triggered by the quake hitting parts of Nicobar,Komatra and Katchal minutes after it struck the region at 14:08 IST.

The ITEWC also issued an alert for coastal Tamil Nadu,Andhra Pradesh and the Andaman islands forecasting the arrival time of the first wave.

India issues tsunami warning

India today issued a tsunami warning for Nicobar islands and alerted the coastal regions of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh after an earthquake of 8.7 magnitude hit waters off western coast of northern Sumatra.

“We have issued a tsunami warning for Nicobar islands,” Shailesh Nayak,Secretary Ministry of Earth Sciences told PTI.

The projections issued by the Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) showed the tidal waves triggered by the quake hitting parts of Nicobar,Komatra and Katchal minutes after it struck the region at 14:08 IST.

The ITEWC also issued an alert for coastal Tamil Nadu,Andhra Pradesh and the Andaman islands forecasting the arrival time of the first wave.

For Tamil Nadu,the first wave was expected to reach the coastal regions at around 4:33 pm.

Strong tremors were felt in Chennai and some other nearby areas. People in multi-storeyed apartments and those working in highrise buildings rushed out into open areas.

Kolkata and its neighbourhood were rocked by tremors which were also felt in North 24 Parganas,adjoining Kolkata and in the north Bengal town of Siliguri.

A large number of people rushed out of offices on Park Street and downtown BBD Bagh area here as windows and doors rattled. According to reports,some buildings on Park Street developed cracks.

Metro Rail services in the metropolis were suspended from 2:42 pm and passengers were asked to vacate stations.

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