Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Indian Ocean tsunami warnings issued after Indonesia quake

The Nation

An Indian Ocean-wide tsunami warning was issuedWednesday after a strong earthquake struck off northern Sumatra inIndonesia.

Residents across Sumatra ran out of their homes in panic, butthere were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The US Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 8.7while Indonesia’s geophysics agency measured it at 8.5.

The quake struck at 3:38 pm local time (0838 GMT) at a depth of 33kilometres, 435 kilometres south-west of Banda Aceh, capital ofSumatra’s Aceh province, the US agency said.

A tsunami watch was issued for countries ranging from Indonesia toThailand, India, Australia, the Seychelles, Somalia, Oman and SouthAfrica, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

"I was in the hotel having a shower when the quake struck,"Timbang Pangaribuan told Elshinta radio from Medan, the capital ofNorth Sumatra province.

"It was so strong we all ran out of the hotel in panic," he said."I saw one person jump out of the window, and he was injured." There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, saidPrihyadi, an official at the Meteorology, Geophysics and ClimatologyAgency.

"We have issued tsunami warnings for Aceh, North Sumatra and WestSumatra," said Prihyadi, who like many Indonesians uses only onename.

Local media reported there was no tsunami in affected areas onSumatra more than one hour after the quake.

A spokesman for the Transportation Ministry, Bambang Ervan, saidthe airport in Banda Aceh was operating normally.

"There are some cracks on the terminal building," he said.

An official in West Sumatra’s coastal district of Pesisir Selatan,Sabro Bayam, also said the government there had so far received noreports of damage.

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was generated by a quake that alsostruck off the west coast of Sumatra. It killed 170,000 in Aceh alone.
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