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6.7 tremor sparks tsunami panic in the Andamans.

Port Blair: A strong earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale struck off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on Friday at 5.40 pm local time, the Indian Meteorological Department said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or serious damage to property.

The tremors triggered fears of a tsunami in the capital Port Blair. People rushed out of their homes and offices.

"I was inside a hotel. I felt the floor rocking and ran towards the exit. I could see many people across the road doing the same. Everyone was talking about a tsunami. Initially, there was panic. However, people are more calm now," Hasina Bibi, who works in the hospitality industry, told Gulf News.

Marsehala Dung Dung, editor of the Port Blair-based Andaman Herald, said: "There was a lot of commotion. Electricity supply remained cut off for more than an hour in many areas. There was widespread fear of a tsunami. Some people told me they will be sleeping outdoors tonight."

The islands, especially Nicobar, were ravaged in the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Aftershock detected

"The magnitude is 6.3 and it's centred in the Andaman Islands," said Srinivas Kumar of the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services. "We have not issued any tsunami warning so far and there is no need for widespread evacuation."

The US Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 6.7. It later reported an aftershock of 6.1 magnitude, also epicentred near the location of the first quake, under the seabed.

"There is no news of loss of life or property until now," said Casper James, a senior disaster management official in the islands.

With inputs from Reuters

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jun 28, 2008
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