Indonesia’s Geophysical Agency has registered an 8.9 magnitude earthquake in the Aceh region, off the coast of northern Sumatra. A tsunami warning has been issued, the US Geological Survey reports.
Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency is sending a rescue team to Aceh, after the quake knocked out the province’s electricity and sent locals scrambling for higher ground, Reuters reports.
Waves from a possible tsunami could reach the provincial capital Banda Aceh shortly, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
“Earthquakes of this size have the potential to generate a widespread destructive tsunami that can affect coastlines across the entire Indian Ocean basin,”
the Warning Center said, as quoted by Al Arabiya.
The Centre is closely monitoring the situation. At this time, Indonesia’s Geophysical Agency has not received reports of damage or rise in water levels in Aceh.
Banda Aceh is the closest city to the quake’s epicenter, which lies 33 km beneath the ocean floor. With a population of over 220,000, it’s located some 500 kilometers away.
Tremors from the earthquake have been felt in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and southern India. Witnesses said on Twitter that high-rise apartments and offices on Malaysia’s west coast shook for at least a minute. India’s port of Chennai shut after the quake, a local official told Reuters.
Indonesia straddles a series of fault lines that makes the vast island nation prone to volcanic and seismic activity.
In December 2004, a giant 9.1 quake triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people, nearly three quarters of them in Aceh.
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