India withdraws tsunami warning
New Delhi: The Indian government on Wednesday withdrew tsunami warning issued after an earthquake of 8.6 magnitude hit off western coast of northern Sumatra in Indonesia.
Earlier, the government had said that there was no likelihood of tsunami tidal waves being formed anywhere in the Indian Ocean region.
The government had initially issued tsunami alert for the country’s coastal regions, including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The alert was issued after strong tremors were also felt in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and parts of Northeast India.
The Earth Sciences Ministry and the National Disaster Management Authority, in their revised bulletins, 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 tsunami. 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.
In Chennai, strong tremors were felt in different parts of the city.
People in multi-storeyed apartments and those working in high rise buildings rushed out in panic after they felt the tremors.
Police could be seen sounding an alert for tsunami on the beaches of Chennai.
Kolkata and its neighbourhood were also rocked by tremors which were also felt in North 24 Parganas adjoining Kolkata and in the north Bengal town of Siliguri.
A large number of people rushed out of offices in Park street and downtown BBD Bagh area here as windows and doors rattled.
According to reports, some buildings on Park Street developed cracks.
Metro Rail services in the metropolis were suspended from 2:42 pm and passengers were asked to vacate stations. The services were later restarted.
The quake in Indonesia hit waters off the westernmost Aceh province.
The US Geological Survey said the quake was centred 33 kilometres beneath the ocean floor around 495 kilometres from the provincial capital of Banda Aceh.
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 December 26, 2004, triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people, nearly three quarter of them in Aceh.