A tsunami watch was issued for countries bordering the Indian Ocean after a powerful earthquake hit off the coast of Indonesia on Wednesday, triggering panic and evacuations in areas where a devastating wave struck in 2004.
The quake was measured at an 8.7 magnitude, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was followed by a strong aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 8.2, which shook Indonesia’s western coast.
On Twitter, people said tremors were in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and India. Buildings on Malaysia’s West Coast shook for almost a minute.
The initial tsunami alert stretched from Indonesia and Thailand to South Africa and Iran. It was later revised to an alert only for residents living along the western coast of Indonesia, and included Sumatra island and the Mentawai islands.
A tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004 killed more than 230,000 people. On Wednesday, that memory was still fresh as this tweet came from Phuket, Thailand:
From Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province, one man tweeted: “Banda Aceh after the earthquake. Electricity, phone and the traffic light off. #PrayForAceh #PrayForSumatra.”
After the earthquake, strong aftershocks were felt throughout the area. One aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 8.2 shook Indonesia’s western coast. The first part of this tweet translates to: “There are aftershocks.”
Ada gempa susulan. Hope it will be okay. God, no tsunami please!!— Adinda A Temashiera (@Temashiera) April 11, 2012
Aid groups, which saw more than $14 billion in humanitarian aid donated during the 2004 tsunami, sent tweets saying they were on the ground and ready to help:
Read the full story at the AP.