Indonesia Quake Puts Nations On Tsunami Alert

Anxious residents in Kolkata rushed out on the streets on Wednesday after a massive earthquake measuring 8.9 on Richter scale hit Indonesia.

Tremors were felt mainly in Kolkata and it adjoining areas. Members of the fishermen community in South 24-Parganas and East Midnapore district were alerted not to venture out in the sea. "We are keeping watch on the whole situation. But no alert has been sounded in three coastal districts of South 24-Parganas, North 24-Parganas and East Midnapore," Kolkata Met office sources said.

The locals felt the tremor for a few seconds. However, no casualty has been reported in the city so far.

"We were in the office on the 10th floor of a multi-storyed building as suddenly felt mild tremor. Initially we got little panicked and started rushing down from the office. Most of the people used staircase to come out on the streets," said Animesh Banerjee, a private firm employee.

The city's underground transport lifeline Metro railway service was temporarily suspended for about 50 minutes following the aftershock. The ticket counters were closed and passengers were asked to evacuate all underground tunnels.

Later the services were resumed at 3.30 pm after a thorough inspection was carried out by the Metro railway authorities and engineers.

There was panic at the satellite township of Rajarhat and Salt Lake sector-V, an IT hub, with people rushing down from high rise buildings. Altogether four high rise towers in the central business district have developed minor cracks, city civic body Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) sources said.

State disaster management secretary Indevar Pandey said that a tsunami alert has been sounded along the coastal areas of Bengal after the earthquake.

"It might be felt mainly in areas surrounding Sagar Island and a large part of Sundarbans. The waves could rise as high as two metres. There is a red alert in three islands of Andaman and Nicobar," he said.

The official said that the state government has alerted all the district magistrates of all three coastal districts (South 24-Parganas, North 24-Parganas and East Midnapore). Control rooms have also been opened in these three coastal districts, Pandey said.

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