A Tsunami alert was sounded in coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, with authorities asked to remain vigilant after a powerful earthquake struck an Indonesian province.
Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea and people living close to the shore asked to move to safer places in Tamil Nadu, where however, the alert was withdrawn in the evening, police and officials said. As the quake of 7.2 magnitude hit Aceh province in Indonesia at 12.59 PM (local time), authorities in both states were on alert after the Centre advised states concerned to take precautionary steps.
Marina beach in Chennai was declared out of bounds for public and traffic on roads leading to it was diverted. Later in the evening, traffic resumed. Fishermen in Nagapattinam district, devastated by the December 2004 tsunami,claiming over 6000 lives, were asked not to put out to sea and to move away from the shores. Fire services, revenue and police departments were also put on alert, District Collector C Munianathan told PTI.
In coastal Kanyakumari town, tourists were evacuated from the beach and Vivekananda Rock Memorial, which is in the sea. In Kerala, those living close to the sea in parts of Alappuzha district were asked to move to safer places as heavy sea erosion was reported from some places, official sources said. Vulnerable coastal hamlets for which special precautions were being taken included Thrikkunnappuzha, Cherthala and Arthunkal, which were hit by the 2004 Tsunami.
"For time being, the people have been asked to move on their own to safer places like nearby school buildings or homes of relatives. If necessary, official arrangements would be made for their evacuation", sources said. State Fisheries Minister S Sarma asked the coastal people, especially fisherfolk,to remain vigilant and not toventure into the sea. Warning has been issued by district administrations in Kollam, Thrissur and Kannur also.