Mild tremors were felt in some parts of Colombo and rest of Sri Lanka, following a massive earthquake off Indonasia. No damage to property was reported in the country. Most people who felt the tremors poured out onto the streets until it subsided.
People moved away from their homes near the sea, and followed tsunami drills after the news filtered in about the Indonesian earthquake.
Subsequently the Meteorology department issued a tsunami warning, and said that there was a possibility of a tsumani hitting the northern, eastern and southern coasts by 4 p.m. The government requested people to stay indoors. A huge number of hotels and resorts dot the southern and south-eastern coasts. Most of these are filled to capacity as the holiday season has just begun in Sri Lanka. The hotels and other lodging facilities were alerted and asked to take precautions. The Ceylon Electricity Board switched off power to the areas under tsunami watch as a measure of caution.
The Coastal Railway cancelled its scheduled trains for the afternoon, causing huge logistical problems for commuters trying to get home. The long-weekend begins in Sri Lanka on Wednesday, ahead of the Tamil and Sinhala New Year’s day. Given the nature of the emergency, Sri Lanka allowed free vehicular movement in its only toll road, the Southern Expressway, which connects Colombo with the southern Dutch Port town of Galle.
The tsunami warning was lifted after 6 p.m., but people have been requested not to venture close to the sea.
Sri Lanka was among the worst sufferers of the 2004 tsunami. The housing for the some of the displaced is still under construction.