Huge Quake Strikes Off Indonesia, Tsunami Warnings Lifted
Indian Ocean rim countries brace for tsunami after 8.7 earthquake off coast of Aceh
An enormous 8.7 earthquake struck off the coast of Aceh, Indonesia today. There were initial fears of a potential tsunami, but those warnings have since been cancelled.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported that there were tsunami watches in effect for the entire Indian Ocean. Individual countries, including Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India, issued tsunami warnings, according to Reuters.
An earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 2004 devastated these same nations, and claimed more than 230,000 lives.
* * *
Video from the CBC:
* * *
An 8.7 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia on Wednesday, sending residents around the region dashing out of their homes and offices in fear. [...]
The quake struck 308 miles (500 km) southwest of the city of Banda Aceh, on the northern tip of Indonesia's Sumatra island, at a depth of 20.5 miles (33 km), the U.S. Geological survey said.
Indonesia's disaster management agency said power was down in Aceh province and people were gathering on high ground as sirens warned of the danger.
"The electricity is down, there are traffic jams to access higher ground. Sirens and Koran recitals from mosques are everywhere," said Sutopo, spokesman for the agency.
The quake was felt as far away as the Thai capital, Bangkok, and in southern India, residents said.
Hundreds of office workers in the Indian city of Bangalore left their buildings while the Indian port of Chennai closed down because of the danger of a tsunami, the port said.
The quake was in roughly in the same area as a December 26, 2004, quake of 9.1 magnitude, which sent huge tsunami waves crashing into Sumatra, where 170,000 people were killed, and across the Indian Ocean.
* * *
A tsunami watch declared after two major earthquakes off the coast of Indonesia's Aceh province has now been cancelled, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PWTC) says.
Two hours after the quakes - one with a magnitude of 8.6, the other measuring 8.3 - the centre says "the threat has diminished or is over for most areas".
The alerts caused panic as people fled buildings and made for high ground.
There have been no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
India and Sri Lanka have also lifted their own tsunami warnings.
The region is regularly hit by earthquakes. The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 killed 170,000 people in Aceh alone and some 250,000 around the region.
# # #