Massive quake rocks Indonesia, no tsunami or serious damage
BANDA ACEH, INDONEISA – Two massive earthquakes rocked the coast of Indonesia’s Aceh province Wednesday, triggering tsunami warnings that were lifted later, amid no reports of any serious damage hours after the temblors shook the Indian Ocean region as far away as India.
The alert declared after two earthquakes one 8.6 and the other 8.3 on the Richter scale was cancelled by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PWTC) two hours after the tremors shook Indonesia shortly after 1400 hours.
The PWTC said “the threat has diminished or is over for most areas”.
The alert shook people out of buildings as many were frightened of further tremors almost reviving the horrific memories of the disastrous tsunami in 2004 that killed around 230,000 in 13 Indian Ocean countries.
Indonesia officials said the government was checking for disaster and casualties but there was no serious damage including in Aceh, the closest province that was ruined by the tsunami eight years ago.
Tsunami alerts were issued for the entire Indian Ocean region but India, Thailand and Sri Lanka also lifted their warnings even as disaster management teams were kept on standby to face any eventuality.
Experts said the scale of the tidal waves appeared to have been small – on the order of a few tens of centimeter in height.
“It’s dark out here but I am scared to go home,” said Mila, a 41-year-old woman taking refuge in the grand mosque in the town of Banda Aceh, the provincial capital.
“Our tide gauges and buoys recorded small tsunamis,” Saed Kristiawan, of Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency, was quoted as saying by the BBC.
TV channels in Indonesia showed thousands of people gripped in fear gathering in mosques and many were seen scurrying on the streets, crying .
The shocks were felt as far away as Bangkok and in the southern parts of India with people came out of buildings in panic. As a precaution, the port in Chennai, which also felt the impact of tsunami eight years ago, was closed down.