BBC World Service

India’s first responses to earthquake and tsunami warnings

David Brancaccio Apr 11, 2012

David Brancaccio: An 8.6 magnitude earthquake centered nearly 300 miles off of Indonesia has people around the Indian Ocean as far away as East Africa moving to higher ground.  An 8.2 aftershock three hours later prompted a second tsunami warning. So far reports suggest a much smaller set of waves than the devastating tsunami in 2004.

The BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder is monitoring the situation from Delhi. Hello, Sanjoy.

Sanjoy Majumder: Hello.

Brancaccio: Give me a sense about the feeling in the region given these bulletins about the earthquake this morning and tsunami watch.

Majumder: We felt the tremors when the earthquake first hit Indonesia. Those tremors were felt along the east coast of India in cities such as Kolkata and Chennai. And that was followed by a tsunami alert across the region. A lot of people began to feel very nervous, although since then, they’ve settled somewhat upon being told that perhaps the warnings weren’t as severe as people first feared.

Brancaccio: Is there early information about India’s response to the events today, so far?

Majumder: Well, almost immediately after the earthquake was felt, there was a general alert warning of the possibility of six meter high waves striking areas along the east coast. Fishermen were asked to come back off the high seas. So there’s a general sense of alert right across the region.

Brancaccio: A lot of this seems to be evidence of preparations that have been made — perhaps stepped up preparations in the wake of the disaster of some years ago?

Majumder: Yes, without doubt, the 2004 tsunami caught everyone here in India completely by surprise. Now they’ve got these systems in this place; these communities have been strengthened; the shelters have been rebuilt using materials which perhaps can withstand an earthquake or tsunami. And at the same time, people are asked to relocate to higher ground with intermittent warnings sent out on the state media services.

Brancaccio: Sanjoy Majumder, BBC Delhi, thank you very much.

Majumder: Thank you.


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