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Indonesia – Earthquake in Aceh sets off regional tsunami fears

Steven Tannason

Thu Apr 12 2012


INDONESIA’S Aceh province was yesterday struck by two earthquakes, triggering an Indian Ocean tsunami alert. Meld reporter Steve Tannason gets reactions from residents in Indonesia.

According to Indonesia’s leading news website Kompas, the first earthquake, which registered 8.5 on the Ritcher scale, took place at around 6.40pm Australian time. The second earthquake took place at 8.45pm, and registered 8.1 on the Ritcher scale.

Source: U.S. Geological Survey

The earthquakes triggered small tsunamis measuring 80 centimeters high, which hit Meulaboh and Sabang in Aceh, The Jakarta Post reported.

Tremors from the earthquakes were felt by residents in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra, 397km from Aceh.

“We could feel the earthquakes here in Medan, but we could feel the second earthquake [more than the others]… there were four aftershocks, but only the second and third ones were felt,” Zivana, a Medan resident said.

Wirawan, from Medan, also felt the tremors.

“The first earthquake lasted longer – for around 10 minutes. The second one lasted for five minutes,” Wirawan said.

The first earthquake was also felt in Singapore, Thailand, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and India.

In Singapore, residents reported feeling tremors at around 7.50pm Australian time in Marine Parade, Beach Rd, Bukit Panjang, Bendemeer Rd, Farrer Rd and Whompoa Rd.

As reported by The New York Times, coastal areas of southern Thailand and eastern India declared tsunami alerts and Indonesia issued a tsunami warning.

The first quake had prompted the initial warning, which was later extended, Kompas reported. The tsunami warning was extended for two extra hours following the second earthquake.

In 2004, Aceh was hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami, killing 170,000 people. But as The New York Times reported, Wednesday’s earthquakes were unlikely to produce a destructive tsunami.