A 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck near India’s Nicobar and Andaman Islands today, causing panic on the archipelago. The earthquake which struck under the Indian Ocean prompted the authorities to initiate a regional tsunami alert. The quake jolted the archipelago early in the morning, shaking people from their sleep and snapping the power supplies. Notably, the islands were hit badly by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.
Tremors were also felt in some parts of mainland India. “It was very difficult to leave our home because the electricity went off and the entire Port Blair plunged into darkness during the earthquake,” tour operator M. Vinod said from the capital of the Andamans to AFP. The Tsunami warnings were issued by the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and India’s National Centre for Ocean Information Services, but the warnings were later withdrawn when the scientists did not find any change in sea level.
“We will be withdrawing that notice as there is no change in the sea water levels. Tsunami Watch notice is sort of a warning notice that does not necessitate evacuating the people,” T Srinivasa Kumar, an official incharge told IANS over phone. Their is no report of casualties so far but the police control room official in Port Blair is trying to contact remote islands for reports on possible damage or casualties. “So far there has been no such report,” said a officer posted at the control room.
A Port Blair resident said to AFP that the earth shook for about 20 seconds and people fled from their homes in fear. The Chennai Met office added that the tremor was also felt in several parts of Chennai like Koyambedu, Thiruvanmiyur, Santhome, Royapettah.