Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fresh tremors felt in S'pore today moring at about 8am, tsunami alerts issued

Please note that there was another earthquake jolted Sumatra last night and tremors were felt in many parts of Singapore & Jakarta yesterday night.

SINGAPORE/JAKARTA - Tremors were felt in Singapore on Thursday at about 8am after a strong aftershock of 8.3 magnitude rattled Sumatra island. Members of the public called STOMP to say that they noticed tremors in places like Ponggol, Tampines, Yishun, Bishan, Telok Blangah and Woodlands. One said he could see the water in his fish tank sway while another felt his block shaking. A police news release said together with the SCDF, they have received about 150 calls from the public reporting the tremors. Metereological Services confirmed that an earthquake occurred in Southern Sumatra and registered 8.3 on the Richter scale. The public is advised that there is no cause for alarm.

Tsunami warning issued
Over in Japan, its Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning for Indonesia, Australia, India and Sri Lanka on Thursday after the latest earthquake rocked Sumatra.

'There is a possibility of a destructive regional tsunami in the Indian Ocean,' the agency said in a statement, adding that the Indian Ocean coasts of Sumatra and Java and Australia's Cocos Islands could be affected within an hour.

It said all coasts of India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands and all coasts of Sri Lanka could be affected between one to three hours.

Rescue teams
Rescue teams are being sent to Sumatra, where a powerful earthquake on Wednesday destroyed buildings in several towns and cities

'The emergency rescue system has mobilised and the president has ordered the military to help the rescue effort,' President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's spokesman said.

Indonesia's Health Ministry crisis centre in Jakarta said the latest casualty figures showed that six people had been killed and 40 injured after the initial 8.4 magnitude quake.

The earthquake, which was also felt in neighbouring Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia on Wednesday, caused extensive damage to buildings along Sumatra's coast, officials said.

Some buildings had collapsed in Padang, the capital of West Sumatra north of the tremor's epicentre, witnesses reported, while Metro TV said some buildings had caught fire.

'The city is in complete chaos. Everyone is heading to higher ground, I saw one house collapsed to the ground. I'm trying to save my family,' said a witness in Padang.

Padang Mayor Fauzi Bahar said three people were trapped in a collapsed three-storey office building.

Dr David Oppenheimer, a scientist with the United States Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California, said the death toll could well rise as authorities take stock of the impact.

A quake with an eight magnitude typically leads to partial collapse of buildings, houses moved off their foundations, and other damage, he said.

'That's the kind of stuff that causes death, especially in the Third World,' he said, 'I think there is an information blackout at this point.'

As several big aftershocks hit the region, many people chose to sleep out in the open rather than return indoors, said a Red Cross official in Bengkulu, close to the epicentre of the quake.

A total of 141,000 people in the Sumatran towns of Curup and Sungaipenuh were exposed to a quake of magnitude 7, according to the US Geological Survey, while a combined 379,000 people in Bengkulu and Pagaralam were exposed to a magnitude six quake.

'Glass was broken, ceilings collapsed, and the walls cracked in the hospital,' said Mr Aldi, a member of the staff of M. Yunus hospital in Bengkulu. He added that patients were being treated in two tents erected in the hospital grounds and that more tents were needed.

Mr Rustam Pakaya, head of the health ministry crisis centre in Jakarta, said the latest casualty figures showed that four people had been killed and 21 injured.

He said the government would send one tonne of medicine, three tonnes of food supplements, and one tonne of noodles on Thursday for displaced people in the area.

'Patience test'
'This quake is a test in Ramadan so that Indonesians become more patient,' Mr Pakaya said, referring to the fact that the quake struck on the eve of the Muslim fasting month.

An official at Indonesia's meteorological agency said gauges measured a wave surge of one metre after the first quake. The agency said the big quake's epicentre was 159km south-west of Bengkulu, a remote area of mountains and forests.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued an Indian Ocean tsunami warning after the first quake struck at 6.10pm (7.10pm Singapore time). Authorities from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Australia issued independent warnings, as did India for the Andaman and Nicobar islands, France for the island of Reunion and Mozambique. -- REUTERS, AFP

In the event of future tremors, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) has advised the public to:

1. Be calm

2. If you are out in the open, to stay there. If in the building take cover under a table
b.keep away from items made of glass or hanging objects not use the lift not use a naked light, in case there is a gas leak

3.After all vibrations have stopped stay away from any exposed cables, damaged power points or hanging objects gas leaks the injured (call SCDF at 995 if the injuries are significant) any incidents or issues of law and order to the Police

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