Tsunami alert across Indian Ocean
A tsunami warning has been issued for the entire Indian Ocean after an earthquake measuring 8.7 on the Richter scale hit Indonesia a little after 2 pm. Officials in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are preparing for evacuation procedures, though they stress that there has been no tsunami sighting so far. Three-six metre high waves were expected to hit the Nicobar Islands at 2.40 pm. On the beaches at Chennai, policemen used megaphones to ask people to leave.
The quake was felt in Singapore, Thailand and India. High-rise apartments and offices on Malaysia’s west coast shook for at least a minute.
In India, tremors were reported in Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and the southern part of Chennai. The tremors lasted for a few seconds. In Bhubaneshwar, people were seen running out of their homes and offices. No damage has been reported so far.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the powerful quake was centered 20 miles (33 kilometers) beneath the ocean floor around 308 miles (495 kilometers) from Aceh’s provincial capital.
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 Dec. 26, 2004, triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people in 13 Indian Ocean countries, including Thailand, Sri Lanka and India.