Big quake off Sumatra, tsunami alert in Andaman & Nicobar

Jakarta, New Delhi, March 28 | Updated: Mar 29 2005, 08:18am hrs
An 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra on Monday close to where a quake triggered a tsunami that left nearly 300,000 people dead or missing, the US Geological Survey said.

A USGS spokeswoman said the quake struck 125 miles (200 km) west northwest of Sibolga, Sumatra or 880 miles northwest of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta at 1609 GMT.

A spokesman for the US Geological Survey told CNN that the earthquake could cause tsunamis. Certainly evacuations should be occurring. I hope they are, spokesman Don Blakeman said.

Meanwhile, the emergency control room in the Union home ministry in Delhi was activated following the earthquake. Top officials of the met department were working to find out whether the quake could trigger a tsunami, official sources said. The government in Andaman and Nicobar islands said it had issued a preliminary tsunami warning on Monday but was not yet evacuating people, after an earthquake struck near Sumatra. We are on the job, Lieutenant-Governor Ram Kapse told Reuters by telephone from the islands capital Port Blair.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a bulletin saying a destructive tsunami was possible and urged immediate action to evacuate Indian Ocean coasts up to 1,000 kilometers from the epicenter. The quake lasted as long as three minutes, Agence France- Presse cited Indonesias Meteorological and Geophysics Office as saying. The temblor caused power blackouts on Sumatra, AFP said.