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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

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Tsunami Watch Lifted After Quakes Off Indonesia

Penduduk Malaysia, saya menyeru supaya anda semua sentiasa peka dengan maklumat semasa mengenai gempa bumi ini melalui internet. Saya merasakan sumber dari internet lagi cepat berbanding sumber melalui media massa. Ini hanyalah cadangan saya untuk mengetahui sebarang maklumat mengenai gempa bumi dengan lebih cepat. Saya berdoa semoga Tsunami tidak akan berlaku. Amin.


A tsunami watch issued by the U.S.-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center for the Indian Ocean has ended hours after two powerful earthquakes hit off Indonesia's western coast, but some watches and warnings issued by countries in the area are still in effect.

The 8.6- and 8.2-magnitude earthquakes triggered panic Wednesday afternoon. Residents in coastal cities fled to high ground in cars and on the backs of motorcycles, and many people ran into the streets.

Major damage or tsunami waves locally were not reported, but hours after the temblor, many people in Aceh were still standing outside their homes and offices, afraid to go back inside.

"I was in the shower on the fifth floor of my hotel," Timbang Pangaribuan told El Shinta radio from the city of Medan. "We all ran out. ... We're all standing outside now."

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centred 33 kilometres beneath the ocean floor around 495 kilometres from the provincial capital of Banda Aceh. It was initially estimated at magnitude 8.9, but that was later revised down to 8.6. The aftershocks that followed about two hours later were in the 8.2-magnitude range.

There were no immediate reports of high water levels or any damage as a result of the quakes, which began at 3:38 a.m. ET.

"The quake was felt very strongly," Reuters quoted a spokesman for the Indonesia disaster mitigation agency as saying.

"Electricity is down, there's traffic jams to access higher ground. Sirens and Koran recitals from mosques are everywhere," said spokesman Sutopo.

The tremors were felt in neighbouring Malaysia, where highrise buildings shook. Singapore, Thailand, Bangladesh and India also were rattled.

"It wasn't the strongest quake I've felt," said 22-year-old Tuti Rahmi, while trying to reach her brother by phone from Banda Aceh, people around her crying and screaming as they poured from their homes.

"But it seemed to last forever," she said, adding the ground shook for nearly four minutes.

In India, many people felt shocks along the east coast, freelance reporter Rohit Gandhi said.

"People were all out on the streets; they all came out of the building. There was literally traffic jams all across India's east coast," he said.

According to Reuters, a roughly one-metre tsunami wave hit the Western coast of Indonesia' Sumatra island following the quakes. The news agency said Indonesia's disaster agency was still trying to determine whether the wave had caused any injuries or damage.

The BBC reported earlier in the day that the airport at Phuket, a popular Thai tourist destination along that coast, had been closed to prevent more people from arriving. By 9:30 a.m. ET, the airport website showed that many flights were delayed, but not cancelled.

Phuket was severely affected by the quake in 2004, and has since put in place warning systems and signage directing people to higher ground in the event of tsunami warnings.

Indonesia straddles a series of fault lines that makes the vast island nation prone to volcanic and seismic activity.

"There will be ongoing aftershocks — probably for quite some time," Randy Baldwin, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey, told CBC News. "It wouldn't surprise me if we don't see aftershocks for maybe a few months, if not even longer than that."

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, almost three-quarters of them in Aceh.

A tsunami watch means there is the potential for a tsunami, not that one is imminent.

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