Arakan

The land that is known as Arakan by the foreigners is called Rakhaing-pray by its own people, Rakhaing-thar (Arakanese) who were titled this name in honour of preservation on their national heritage and ethics or morality.

Tsunami alert withdrawn after mass panic

Posted by Arakan Indobhasa Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Independent

The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cancelled its tsunami watch for the Indian Ocean hours after a massive earthquake off Indonesia.

A strong aftershock nearly three hours later sparked a new wave of panic. Indonesia's government responded by issuing a fresh tsunami warning.

Some residents were crying in Aceh, where memories of a 2004 tsunami that killed 170,000 people in the province alone, are still vivid. Others screamed "God is great" as they poured from their homes or searched frantically for separated family members.

The US Geological Survey said the first 8.6-magnitude quake was centred 20 miles beneath the ocean floor around 270 miles from Aceh province.

That prompted the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii to issue a tsunami watch for Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Burma, Thailand, the Maldives and other Indian Ocean islands, Malaysia, Pakistan, Somalia, Oman, Iran, Bangladesh, Kenya, South Africa and Singapore.

A wave measuring less than 30 inches high, rolled to Indonesia's coast. There were no other signs of serious damage.

But just as the region was sighing relief, an 8.2-magnitude aftershock hit.

"We just issued another tsunami warning," a spokesman from Indonesia's geophysics agency said.

People along the western coast of Sumatra island and the Mentawai islands were told to stay clear of coasts.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centres watch remained in effect. A tsunami watch means there is the potential for a tsunami, not that one is imminent.

The initial quake was a strike-slip, not a thrust quake, according to experts. In a strike slip quake, the earth moves horizontally rather than vertically and doesn't displace large volumes of water.

Scientists were still analysing the aftershock.

"When I first saw this was an 8.7 near Sumatra, I was fearing the worst," Roger Musson, seismologist at the British geological survey who has studied Sumatra's fault lines, noting one of the initial reported magnitudes for the quake. "But as soon as I discovered what type of earthquake it was, then I felt a lot better."

The first tremor was felt in Malaysia, where it caused high-rise buildings to shake for about a minute, and in Singapore, Thailand, Bangladesh and India.

It caused chaos in the streets of Aceh. Patients poured out of hospitals, some with drips still attached to their arms. In some places, electricity was briefly cut.

Hours afterwards, people were still standing outside their homes and offices, afraid to go back inside.

Thailand's National Disaster Warning Centre issued an evacuation order to residents in six provinces along the country's west coast, including the popular tourist destinations of Phuket, Krabi and Phang-Nga.

India's Tsunami Warning Centre issued a warning for parts of the eastern Andaman and Nicobar islands. In Tamil Nadu in southern India, police cordoned off the beach and used loudspeakers to warn people to leave the area.

The quake was felt in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where many people in the city's commercial Motijheel district left their offices and homes in panic and ran into the streets. No damage or causalities were reported.

In Male, the capital of the Maldives, buildings were evacuated.

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 Boxing Day 2004 triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people, most of them in Aceh.

The tsunami watch around the Indian Ocean was later lifted.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre cancelled the watch for most areas of the Indian Ocean about four hours after the first quake. It was still in effect for Indonesia, India, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and the island territory of Diego Garcia.

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