By Margarita Bogatova
A series of powerful earthquakes has hit over 20 countries across the Indian Ocean.
India, Sri-Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand have now called off their tsunami warnings which were issued after a 8.6 magnitude earthquake had hit Sumatra. These countries, alongside with Maldives and the British Indian Ocean Territory of Diego Garcia, were under tsunami watch issued by the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. Reports of new tsunami alerts are coming from Kenya and Tanzania.
No serious damage or casualties in the region have been reported.
Tourists, who were evacuated from the coastlines of India and Thailand, have been allowed to return to their hotels. Phuket international airport is expected to resume its normal operations shortly. But 300 Russian tourists which are currently in Thailand on holiday will only be able to fly back home on Thursday. Until then, they will be staying in their hotels.
Another tsunami alert could be issued, as according to Thai media reports, yet another earthquake could strike in the Andaman Sea on Thursday.
Up to 14 earthquakes have hit the West coast of Sumatra. The strongest of these tremours has been measure by US experts at a magnitude of 8.9. Its epicenter was 495 kilometers away from Banda-Aceh. The earthquake triggered tsunami warnings in several countries. A major aftershock followed several hours later and forced these countries to issue additional alerts.
Indonesia, India, Sri-Lanka, Australia, Thailand, Maldives, Malaysia, Singapore, Seychelles, Pakistan, Somalia, Oman, Madagascar, Mauritius, Iran, Yemen, Tanzania, Mozambique, Myanmar, United Arab Emirates, Kenya and several South African countries all faced the threat of a massive tsunami, according to the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
This series of earthquakes have reminded the locals and the world about the tragedy which occurred in 2004 when a 9.1 magnitude earthquake claimed 300 thousand lives in a total of 11 South-East Asian countries.