Sumatra quake prompts tsunami alert for SA

A tsunami alert has been issued for South Africa, following a massive quake off the coast of Sumatra—althought it’s not known whether a giant wave is indeed on its way.

“Earthquakes of this size have the potential to generate a widespread destructive tsunami that can affect coastlines across the entire Indian Ocean basin,” the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

The US Geological Survey said an 8.7-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra at 8.38am GMT at a depth of 33km. USGS had initially reported it as an 8.9-magnitude quake.

The tsunami warning centre said it had not yet ascertained whether a tidal wave had been generated but that one was likely given the strength of the temblor, and advised local authorities to take “appropriate action”.

On December 26, 2004 a 9.2-magnitude earthquake off Sumatra generated a catastrophic tsunami that wrought devastation across southern Asia, killing an estimated 220 000 people.

Last year, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake caused a tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan, killing some 19 000 people.—Sapa-AFP

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