Massive earthquake hit Indonesia on Wednesday, measuring 8.6-magnitude on the Richter Scale and epicentre was located in the Aceh province.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, several aftershocks measuring more than 6 magnitude struck the region at 4:43 p.m. local time (1043 GMT). The quake’s epicenter was about 15 kilometers beneath the ocean.
The earthquake had spawned a wave around 30 inches high but caused no serious damage to structures. There were no reports of any casualties. Indonesia lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire which witnesses frequent earthquakes due to high movement of tectonic plates underneath.
Nearly 28 Southeast Asian countries have issued tsunami alerts which were later withdrawn as the earthquake was caused by horizontal movement of tectonic plates unlike the vertical movement of plates in December 2004 earthquake that sparked a huge tsunami across most of these nations including India and Sri Lanka.
For India, the Tsunami Warning Center in Hyderabad was quick enough to issue an alert warning for Andaman and Nicobar islands and Chennai. In chennai, police cleared off the beach and used loudspeakers to warn people to vacate the area and move to safer places.
Ironically, in many coastal towns, power was off most of the day, which proved the futility of such warning system which was set up with hundreds of crores. Unless power shortage is addressed, India cannot stand up to these situations. Fortunately, mobile phones, which happened to be in the private sector dominion came useful to spread the word.