A powerful 8.9 magnitude earthquake hits Indonesia on Wednesday afternoon according to BBC reports. The Indonesian quake epicenter is under the sea off Indonesia in Sumatra region in northern Aceh province.
US Geological Survey reported that the 8.6 earthquake struck at 08:38:37 UTC with a depth of 33km, at a location about 495km southwest of Banda Aceh on the island of Sumatra according to the report. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center immediately issued tsunami warning across the Indian Ocean region.
The region was devastated by 9.1 magnitude earthquake in 2004 that hits underwater and triggered tsunami which killed 170,000 people in Sumatra region. Although its early to assess whether a tsunami had been generated but the appropriate action must be taken.
There were no tsunami warning systems in the Indian Ocean at the 2004 tsunami so the people living around the ocean were completely caught by surprise that travel as far as Africa. Indonesia sits in a series of fault lines that makes the nation prone to seismic activity.
-The quake magnitude was lowered to 8.6 according to USGS as earlier reported at 8.9
-The tremors of Indonesian quake was felt as far as Singapore and some part of Malaysia. India, Thailand and Sri Lanka already issued tsunami warning and orders people living in coastal area to move in higher grounds.
- Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre says that sea level readings indicate that a tsunami has been generated and it may have already caused destruction along some coast lines in the Indian Ocean.
-Indonesia escaped major damage after the 8.6 hit the Sumatra region. Waves of up to one meter (3.3 feet) high were seen near islands off Aceh, but Indonesia cancelled a warning for fresh tsunamis. It said the worst-hit area was the thinly populated island of Simeulue, off Aceh's southern coast. No fatalities were reported, according to the report.
The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center also withdrew tsunami warnings for the entire Indian Ocean after keeping them in force for several hours.