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Alert after earthquake, rough seas

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Rough seas:Waves lash the Thanni shoreline, near Eravipuram, in Kollam on Sunday.
Rough seas:Waves lash the Thanni shoreline, near Eravipuram, in Kollam on Sunday.

Kerala Bureau

Tsunami warning lifted internationally, but vigil continues in Kerala

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala government issued a precautionary warning to people in the coastal areas of the State on Sunday following fears of a tsunami after an earthquake in Sumatra (Indonesia) and sea erosion in various parts of the State.

Though the tsunami warning has been lifted internationally, the government has not withdrawn the alert till late in the evening as angry waves continued to lash the coastal areas of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Alappuzha districts. The sea was rough in some parts of Kozhikode and Kannur districts also.

A bulletin issued by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, said the earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale struck off the west coast of northern Sumatra in the morning. There was no tsunami threat along the Indian coast, it added.

Fisheries Minister S. Sarma said in an official release that the there were possibility of the sea level rising. So, fishermen should not venture out into the sea and those living on the coast should keep vigil.

People were evacuated from the Alappuzha beach, Eravipuram and Thanni in Kollam district and Poonthura in Thiruvananthapuram district. Some fishermen families in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram coast were moved to relief camps, as waves hit their huts.

Official sources said that the situation was not serious. The rough seas might not be due to any tsunami.

Alappuzha District Collector P. Venugopal told The Hindu that there were no signs of the tsunami along the coast in the district. He said fishermen had been asked not to venture out to the sea, while those out fishing were alerted via mobile phones and wireless sets to return to the shore.

The 24-hour control room at the District Collectorate is monitoring the situation, Mr. Venugopal said. The lifeguards on the Alappuzha beach were asked by 3 p.m. to alert the Sunday crowd on the beach to be careful and not to venture out into the water. A few policemen were posted to keep a watch on the crowd.

In Kozhikode, the Beypore Fisheries Station alerted fishermen to the possibility of a tsunami and asked them not to go out to the sea. The station said the sea on the Malabar Coast was not unduly rough, but fishermen had been advised against going out to the sea until Monday.

In neighbouring Tamil Nadu, seven coastal districts were advised to be on alert. Pilgrims bathing at Agnitheertha Kadarkarai in Ramanathapuram district were asked to move to safe areas and alerts were sounded in Dhanushkodi and Arichamunai, on the tip of the Rameswaram island.

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