New Delhi: India has scaled down the tsunami threat, saying there is no cause for panic along India's coastline and the government is ready to deal with any eventuality. Home Secretary RK Singh said there was no cause for panic. "I have spoken to chief secretaries of Andhra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Andaman and Nicobar. Collectors in coastal districts have been asked to broadcast on radio so that fishermen at sea can come back." Meanwhile, Tsunami warning has been scaled down for Indira Point and Katchal in Nicobar islands.
Earlier, India issued tsunami warning for Andaman and Nicobar Islands, coastal regions of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh following a massive 8.7 magnitude earthquake off Sumatra coast. The Chennai port has been shut down due to tsunami alert. Government has evacuated some people from South Andaman as a precautionary measure.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have already been rushed to Andaman and Nicobal Islands, coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Tsunami alert: Time of the likely impact in India:
- Tsunami likely to hit Little Andaman at 15:46 IST
- Tsunami likely to hit Port Blair at 16:02 IST
- Tsunami likely to hit North Andaman at 16:22 IST
- Tsunami likely to hit Chennai at 16:57 IST
- Tsunami likely to hit Kakinada at 17:35 IST
- Tsunami likely to hit Trivandrum at 17:38 IST
- Tsunami likely to hit Mangalore at 19:06 IST
- Tsunami likely to hit Bombay at 21:38 IST
- Tsunami likely to hit Gulf of Kutch at 22:04 IST
Strong tremors were felt in different cities of the country on Wednesday afternoon. People in multi-storeyed apartments and those working in high rise buildings rushed out in panic after they felt the tremors.
Tremors were felt in Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Patna, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Cuttack, Bhubaneshwar and several other cities on the eastern coast of India.
"We have issued a tsunami warning for Nicobar islands," Shailesh Nayak, Secretary Ministry of Earth Sciences said.
The 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. The ITEWC also issued an alert for coastal Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and the Andaman islands forecasting the arrival time of the first wave.
For Tamil Nadu, the first wave was expected to reach the coastal regions at around 4:33 pm.
Strong tremors were felt in Chennai and some other nearby areas. People in multi storeyed apartments and those working in high rise buildings rushed out to open areas.
Kolkata and its neighbourhood were 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 Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said a tsunami watch was 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.
The US Geological Survey said the powerful quake was centered 33 kilometers beneath the ocean floor.
A giant 9.1-magnitude quake off the country on December 26, 2004, triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 2,30,000 people, nearly three quarter of them in Aceh.
According to Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, a tsunami watch is in effect for countries including: Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Thailand, Mauritius, Seychelles, Pakistan, Somalia, Oman, Medagascar, Iran, UAE, Yemen, Comores, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya, Crozet Islands, Kergullen islands, South Africa and Singapore.
An earthquake has occurred with these preliminary parameters:
Coordinates: 2.0 North 92.5 East
Location: Off W Coast Of Northern Sumatra
Evaluation: Earthquakes of this size have the potential to generate a widespread destructive tsunami that can affect coastlines across the entire Indian Ocean basin.
Map showing when the tsunami is likely to hit India