Strong quake in Indonesia; India withdraws Tsunami alert
India has withdrawn the Tsunami warning issued following a massive earthquake, with 8.7 magnitudes off the east coast of Indonesia on Wednesday.
Earlier, the Earth Sciences Ministry and the National Disaster Management Authority issued a Tsunami warning for Andaman and Nicobar Island and an alert to coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Later, in subsequent bulletins, the two organisations virtually ruled out Tsunami in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and elsewhere in the country.
"There is no specific threat. It was a watch and alert. There is no likelihood of any tsunami in the Indian Ocean region," NDMA Vice President Sashidhar Reddy said.
He said the earthquake that struck the Sumatra islands was not the kind of tremors that usually triggers Tsunami tidal waves. "It is the kind of strike and slip earth quake which does not trigger Tunami. There was no vertical displacement of water under the sea," he said. "Tsunami possibility is virtually ruled out," he said, adding that the Andaman and Nicobar Islands administration and the Army stationed there had informed the NDMA that so far no waves have been noticed in the island.
The initial projections issued by the Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) showed the tidal waves triggered by the quake hitting parts of Nicobar, Komatra and Katchal minutes after it struck the region at 14:08 IST. The ITEWC also issued an alert for coastal Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and the Andaman islands forecasting the arrival time of the first wave. Strong tremors were felt in Chennai and some other nearby areas. People in multi storeyed apartments and those working in high rise buildings rushed out to open areas.
Govt evacuated some people from South Andaman as a precautionary measure.
Union Home Secretary RK Singh on Wednesday said that there is no cause for panic along India's coastline. "As of now there are no signs of Tsunami. The Centre is in constant touch with Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Odisha govts," he said in New Delhi.
The depth of the epicentre, according to the US Geological Survey, was 33 km, considered to be a shallow quake.
A Tsunami warning was issued in India and 27 other countries. The alert caused fear in India's coastal areas. Often there are chances of Tsunami following such earthquakes. There were alerts that there are chances of Tsunami in Andaman and Nicobar islands and some other parts of east coast, so alert was issued. But the movement was not as expected, due to the nature of the earthquake, chances of tsunami are not there, though it's intensity was high, it's clear that there will be no tsunami in India or even Indonesia," it was stated.
Operations at Chennai Port were suspended, Metro operations in Kolkata were briefly curtailed and fishermen in coastal states were asked to return to land. As the temblor reviving painful memories of the 2004 Tsunami in the coastal states triggered by a powerful quake in Indonesia gave anxious moments, the Indian military put their aircraft and warships in a state of high alert for carrying out relief and rescue operations. The 2004 tsunami claimed tens of thousands of lives in the region.
Operations at Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) in Kalpakkam near Chennai continued to function normally though there was a move to halt operations following the Tsunami warning. The nuclear plant is however on high alert. People rushed out of houses and high rise office buildings in panic in cities like Chennai, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and Guwahati where tremors were felt. According to reports, some buildings in Kolkata developed minor cracks. Panic-stricken people in Andhra Pradesh's coastal districts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam rushed out of their homes as soon as they felt the tremor.
- Asian Tribune -