Loading articles...

Strong earthquakes strike off Indonesia; tsunami warnings cancelled

The magnitude struck the waters near Indonesia's Aceh province

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia – The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has cancelled all tsunami warnings after two powerful earthquakes hit off Indonesia’s western coast.

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.

The warnings were lifted around four hours after the first quake.

Major damage or tsunami waves locally were not reported.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 8.6 quake was centred 20 miles (33 kilometres) beneath the ocean floor around 269 miles (434 kilometres) from Aceh’s provincial capital, while the 8.2 one was centred 10 miles (16 kilometres) beneath the ocean around 380 miles (615 kilometres) from the provincial capital, Banda Aceh.

Tsunami warnings were issued for residents living along the western coast of the country, including Sumatra island and the Mentawai Islands.

India’s Tsunami Warning Center has also 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 Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii had been in effect for Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Myanmar, Thailand, the Maldives and other Indian Ocean islands, Malaysia, Pakistan, Somalia, Oman, Iran, Bangladesh, Kenya, South Africa and Singapore.

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

Thailand’s National Disaster Warning Center 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.

There was chaos in the streets, with fierce shaking continuing for nearly four minutes. Residents along coastlines fled to high ground in cars and on the backs of motorcycles. Some were crying. Others screamed “God as great” as they poured from their homes.

“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.”

He said one guest was injured when he jumped from the window of his room.

The tremor was felt in Singapore, Thailand, Bangladesh, Malaysia and India. High-rise apartments and offices on Malaysia’s west coast shook for at least a minute.

Thailand’s National Disaster Warning Center 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.

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, nearly three quarter of them in Aceh.

Latest Traffic & Weather
680 NEWS TRAFFIC @680NEWStraffic 680 News Traffic Twitter verified icon
Updated Just moments ago
CLEAR: WB 401 west of the 400 express.
Latest Traffic
680 NEWS WEATHER @680NEWSweather 
Updated Today at 05:29 AM
Retweeted @jilltaylor680: Enjoy the comfortable temperatures today and tomorrow (July 23/24) It will be back to the stick to your shirt kind of fe…
Latest Weather