India withdraws tsunami alert
New Delhi, Sept. 12 (PTI): India tonight withdrew the tsunami red alert it had issued for coastal states and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the wake of a strong undersea earthquake near Sumatra in Indonesia.
"The tsunami red alert has been withdrawn," a home ministry official said.
The disaster management system went on high alert after the 8.2-magnitude temblor rattled parts of southern Sumatra, trigerring tsunami alerts in the Indian Ocean region.
The Tsunami Warning Centre issued an alert within 20 minnutes of the earthquake in Indonesia, said Shailesh Nayak, Director of the Hyderabad-based Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), which houses the Centre.
"The first alert was issued at 5 pm and we followed it up by another alert an hour later," Nayak told PTI from Hyderabad.
In Delhi, Earth Sciences Minister Kapil Sibal said a one- metre wave was likely to hit coastal parts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.
The home ministry had earlier sent a crash message to Andaman and Nicobar's chief secretary, saying that there was a possibility of the Indonesian quake triggering a tsunami.
Messages were also sent to relief commissioners of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry, advising them to take all precautionary measures to avoid loss of life.
India embarked on developing a tsunami warning system after devastating killer waves left a trail of death and destruction in several parts of India and Southeast Asia in December 2004.
The Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System is expected to be inaugurated some time next month.