A powerful 8.6 magnitude earthquake and a series of strong aftershocks struck off Indonesia on Wednesday, sending people scurrying from buildings as far away as southern India, but there seemed little risk of a disastrous tsunami as in 2004.

http://img.ibtimes.com/www/data/images/full/2012/04/11/260853-indonesia-2004.jpgIndia withdrew a national tsunami


alert issued after huge earthquakes struck off Indonesia on Wednesday, the Indian tsunami warning centre said.

"Thankfully, the danger has passed," a scientist at the centre told Reuters.


Disaster officials had earlier warned waves as high as 3.9 meters could hit parts of Andoman and Nicobar islands.


A few thousand people were evacuated from the more vulnerable islands, a police official said.


Indonesia said it was checking for damage and casualties but remarkably, no such reports had been received for several hours after the quakes, including in Aceh, the closest province and the area decimated by the disaster eight years ago.


However, some areas close to the epicentre are remote so it could take some time to find out if there was any damage.


Many people were frightened of further tremors.


"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.


"I just want to stay alert because I fear there will be more quakes coming. We are human, it is only natural that we have fear, but I really wish we will all be safe."


Waves of up to one metre (3.3 feet) high were seen near islands off Aceh, but Indonesia cancelled a warning for fresh tsunamis. It said the worst-hit area was the thinly populated island of Simeulue, off Aceh's southern coast.


The first quake struck at 0838 GMT and an 8.2 magnitude aftershock just over two hours later, at 1043 GMT. Two more strong aftershocks hit later.


The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center also withdrew tsunami warnings for the entire Indian Ocean after keeping them in force for several hours.


"Level readings now indicate that the threat has diminished or is over for most areas," the agency's bulletin said.

 

Source: Hindu Stand Times

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