Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tsunami alert is lifted following double quake that spread panic from Indonesia to India

Panic spread across the Indian Ocean today after tsunami warnings were issued following two massive earthquakes off Indonesia during a visit there by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Thousands of people in Aceh - 270 miles from the epicentre of the first 8.7 magnitude quake - fled to the hills fearing a repeat of the deadly 2004 Boxing Day disaster which devastated the province.

In the main city of Banda Aceh, terrified residents screamed 'God is great!' as they jumped into cars and the backs of motorcycles, clogging streets as they fled to high ground.

Buildings shook for four minutes and there were reports of people jumping from windows in a desperate attempt to escape.

Patients also poured out of hospitals, some with drips still attached to their arms. In some places, electricity was briefly cut.

Then, two hours later, a massive aftershock - with a similarly huge magnitude of 8.2 - struck only 110 miles further out to sea, unleashing even more panic.

A tsunami alert was issued for other countries across the Indian Ocean today, including India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Burma, Thailand, the Maldives and other Indian Ocean islands, Malaysia, Pakistan, Somalia, Oman, Iran, Bangladesh, Kenya, South Africa and Singapore.

It was later lifted for these countries and Indonesia despite 3ft-high waves hitting Sumatra.

There are fears of a repeat of the 9.1-magnitude quake seven years go that triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people. Nearly three quarters lived in Aceh, which is on the Sumatra island. Read More