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Indonesia downplays tsunami threat after massive quake

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-04-11

Three small tsunamis of up to 80 centimetres have struck the Indonesian coast following a massive 8.6 earthquake hit waters off the island of Sumatra, which triggered tsunami warnings across the Indian ocean.

AFP - At least three tsunamis of up to 80 centimetres (31 inches) hit Indonesia's coast after a massive 8.6-magnitude earthquake struck off Sumatra island Wednesday.

"Our tide gauges and buoys recorded small tsunamis," Said Kristiawan of Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said.

He said the highest was in Meulaboh in western Aceh, "measuring 80 centimetres", and other smaller ones were recorded in nearby coastal regions.

All were recorded at 10:04 GMT, almost an hour and a half after the initial quake, he said. A strong 8.2-magnitude aftershock struck off Sumatra island at 10:43 GMT.

The first quake triggered an Indian Ocean-wide tsunami alert.

The US Geological Survey said it struck 431 kilometres (268 miles) off the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh where terrified residents poured into the streets.

Southeast Asian nations issued tsunami alerts and urged people to move to safety away from coastlines.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono downplayed the tsunami threat after the first shock but said the country remained on alert.

"So far, there is no report of significant damages and casualties," he added.

Date created : 2012-04-11