Officials in nine coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh were on their toes even as people spent anxious moments following an alert about the possibility of rise in sea levels after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake occurred off the west coast of Northern Sumatra, Indonesia, at 11.29 a.m. on Sunday.

Following the earthquake, the Centre informed the State government that there was no immediate tsunami threat for the Indian mainland as well as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. However, it was advised to take precautionary measures in view of the possibility of mild rise in sea levels.

People rush out

At many places, people living close to the coast rushed out of their houses following the alert issued by the government to the Collectors of Srikakulam,Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam and Nellore. Police and revenue officials cleared the popular beaches such as Ramakrishnapuram (Visakhapatnam district), Manginapudi ( Machilipatnam), Suryalanka (Chirala) and Mypadu (Nellore) of tourists and visitors. Fishermen were asked not to venture into the sea as it was rough.

A constant vigil was maintained at the mouths of the Godavari, Krishna, Penna among others.

Going by the bitter experience during the previous tsunami that hit the State's coast on December 26, 2004, there was fear all over. The disaster management cell in the Secretariat turned active as Disaster Management Commissioner T. Radha and Special Commissioner, Drought, S. Balasubramanyam, reached the place and issued dos and don'ts to the collectors of coastal districts. Chief Minister K. Rosaiah, who was on a trip in Guntur district, constantly reviewed the situation telephonically.

Within 10 minutes of the earthquake, the Tsunami Warning Centre, located in the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) here, informed the Ministry of Home Affairs that there was no tsunami threat to the Indian coast and Andaman and Nicobar.