Indonesia quake triggers Phuket tsunami alert

16 Apr 2012

Phuket Holidaymakers and residents were evacuated to higher ground last Wednesday after an earthquake off the coast of Indonesia. The 8.7 magnitude struck just after lunch on Wednesday afternoon and triggered tsunami warning alarms on Phuket and along Thailand’s southern Andaman Sea coastline.

Initial reports indicated that the earthquake might generate tsunami waves up to four metres high. Phuket authorities immediately issued evacuation warnings and closed Phuket International Airport. Phuket officials on the scene said that people left the beach areas in an orderly manner as they seemed to realise they had sufficient time to escape safely.

The threat of a tsunami was heightened two hours after the initial quake, when an 8.2 magnitude aftershock struck. Several hours later, after the tsunami had failed to materialise, an all clear was issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii and holidaymakers and residents were able to head down to beach areas again.

The airport was also re-opened. While the tsunami alert was in effect, planes scheduled to land here were diverted to the airport at Krabi, on the opposite side of Phang Nga Bay.

The tsunami warning systems were set up in the region following the devastating Boxing Day tsunami in 2004. This tsunami was caused by an Indonesian undersea earthquake.

The tsunami’s waves killed 230,000 in countries around the Pacific Ocean. More than 5,000 people died in Thailand’s Andaman region and another 2,800 were listed as missing.  

Tags: quake tsunami alert

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