Update: Indonesia Lifts Tsunami Warning, Residents Return Home
Indonesia lifted a tsunami warning which was issued following a massive 8.6-magnitude earthquake off Sumatra island Wednesday.
“People can return to their homes,” Sri Woro Harijono, head of Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), said on Metro TV.
Panicked residents, remembering a 2004 tsunami that killed 170,000 people on Sumatra’s Aceh province, poured out of their homes and fled coastal areas after the massive quake, which was followed by an 8.2-magnitude aftershock.
Indonesia cancelled the warning shortly after the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii lifted its Indian Ocean–wide tsunami alert.
At least three tsunamis of up to 80 centimeters (31 inches) hit Indonesia’s coast after the initial earthquake, BMKG monitor Said Kristiawan told AFP before the warning was lifted.
“Our tide gauges and buoys recorded small tsunamis,” he said, adding that the highest was in Meulaboh in western Aceh, “measuring 80 centimeters”. He said other smaller ones were recorded in nearby coastal regions.
The US Geological Survey said the initial quake struck 431 kilometers (268 miles) off Banda Aceh, the provincial capital.
“So far, there is no report of significant damages and casualties,” Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said after the first shock.