Monday, 25th September 2017

round-up: huge quake again hits Aceh, no report of death

12th April 2012 | 2.297 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Only a couple of days after the Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD) or Aceh province held simultaneous regional head elections on Monday, a magnitude-8.9 earthquake hit the province on Wednesday afternoon.

The 8.9-magnitude quake took place in Simeulue district, Aceh, at 3:38 p.m. Western Indonesia Time (WIB) (2238 GMT), with the epicenter located at 2.3 degrees northern latitude and 92.6 degrees eastern longitude at a depth of 10 km.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Office (BMKG) recorded several aftershocks after the initial earthquake, but their intensity continues to lessen.

It was followed by a magnitude-8.5 aftershock in Aceh at 3.38 pm, and a magnitude-6.5 at 4:28 p.m. at 1.21 degrees northern latitude and 91.72 eastern longitude, about 510 km southwest of Simeulue district at a depth of 42 km, the BMKG officer Riyadi said in Pekanbaru, Riau province.

Another aftershock, measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale, struck at 4.48 pm at a depth of 630 km southwest of Simeulue, Aceh.

At 5:09 p.m. a magnitude 6.1 aftershock occurred again, followed by another tremor measuring 5.7 at 5.21 p.m.

In Pekanbaru, BMKG released a tsunami warning to five provinces in the coastal areas of Sumatra island covering Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Bengkulu and Lampung on Wednesday.

The statement was released after an 8.5 Richter scale of earthquake hit Simeulue district, about 180 nautical miles to the south of Banda Aceh, capital of Aceh province on Wednesday at 03.38 pm Western Indonesia Standard Time (WIB).

On Monday night (Jan 30) an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale jolted Simeulue, BMKG said.

According to an official from the social affairs ministry, there have been no reports of damage or deaths following the 8,9 magnitude quake in Simeulue, Aceh, at around 3.38pm on Wednesday.

"We have made radio contact with Tagana and the local social affairs service in Simeulue and have been informed that conditions in the district generally remained stable and no damage or death had been found," Victor Siahaan, the head of the sub-directorate of emergency response of the Directorate General of Social Protection of Natural Disaster Victims, said in Jakarta on Wednesday.

He noted that his office has been monitoring the affected regions especially those located close to the epicenter of the quake such as Nias, Sibolga and Padang Sidempuan in North Sumatra and West Aceh, Simeulue and Banda Aceh in Aceh province.

"The situation now seems stable, although it was undeniable the quake had caused panic among the public, who ran to higher grounds for safety," he said

The magnitude-8.9 earthquake disturbed the operation of two power generators with a combined capacity of 130 MW in Belawan (Medan, North Sumatra) and in Aceh.

Spokesman of state-owned electricity company PLN, Bambang Dwiyanto said in Jakarta on Wednesday that power supplies to some customers in Aceh and North Sumatra were cut off.

"PLN officials worked immediately to normalize the power supplies and to restore the power conditions although aftershocks were still going on," Bambang said.

He said electricity supply was badly needed to help restore conditions after the quake.

Bambang explained that some 100 MW capacity of the North Sumatra`s steam power plant`s 800 MW was disturbed. In Aceh, the supply of some 30 MW of the Aceh`s diesel power generator was cut off.

Meanwhile, Banda Aceh was earlier reported to be out of lights after a strong earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale struck the province on Wednesday.

In Bengkulu, the local people in coastal area of the city started evacuating themselves amid the tsunami warning released by the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

The tsunami warning was released shortly after an 8.9 Richter scale of earthquake hit Simeulue district, Aceh province, at 03.38 pm.

In the meantime, Reuters reported from Bangkok, Thailand on Wednesday that the international airport on the southern Thai tourist island of Phuket was closed on Wednesday after a tsunami warning was issued following an 8.7 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Indonesia, its director said.

"We have temporarily closed the airport following the tsunami alert," Phuket International Airport Director Prateung Sornkham told Reuters by telephone.

People in Phuket, Krabi, Ranong, Phangnga, Trang and Satun were earlier ordered to move to higher ground because of a possible tsunami, disaster prevention officials said.

Thailand has cancelled a tsunami warning in six of the country`s Andaman coast provinces that was issued after a huge earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia, a cabinet minister said on Wednesday.

"After checking all information, we found that the situation is stable. There was a small tsunami, but there was no impact," Information and Communication Technology Anudith Nakornthap told a televised news conference.

In addition, the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPM) detected minor scale of tsunami measuring one-meter high in Lahewa Nias Utara (North Sumatra) and another 1.02 meter high in Meulaboh, West Aceh district.

On December 26, 2004, a 9.3-magnitude quake hit Aceh province and Nias Island in North Sumatra which caused huge tsunami, leaving hundred thousands of people died and went missing.

Meanwhile, head of the BMKG Center for the Earthquake and Tsunami, Suhardjono said here on Wednesday night that his office had officially lifted the tsunami early warning. (*)