Andaman residents consider shifting

Agence France Presse

Port Blair, July 25:

After yet another huge earthquake and a tsunami scare overnight, some residents of the battered Andaman and Nicobar Islands say they have had enough and are planning to move.

“Every major quake makes me worried, and my ageing parents are thinking about migrating to Chennai,” on the Indian mainland, said student Prem Kumar. “They can’t take it any more.”

His parents are not the only ones — some among the hundreds of mainlanders who have arrived here in the past few years to work in the service and tourist industries have been packing to leave again, officials said. It was late yesterday on the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands when an earthquake, which the US Geological Survey said measured 7.0 on the Richter scale, shattered the tranquility of residents. “As soon as the quake was felt, all the people of our locality came out and gathered in an open place. Everyone was worried and questioning why it was happening again,” said Prasenjit Banerjee, a government employee in Port Blair.

Meanwhile, a report from Hyderabad said 24 hours after tremors jolted coastal Andhra Pradesh, fears of another tsunami continued to grip people today. Though authorities did not issue tsunami warnings and scientists at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) said the Sunday night tremors, after the 7.2 underwater quake in the Nicobar island, were unlikely to trigger another tsunami, people in the coastal region spent the night in fear. The December 26 tsunami had claimed over two lakh victims across several countries, triggering international efforts to provide aid to the victims.

False alarm

BANKGOK: Authorities in Thailand said on Monday they did not overreact by sounding a tsunami warning overnight when a major earthquake struck the Indian Ocean’s Nicobar islands. The false alarm, lifted about 90 miniutes later, was the second in Thailand since the December 26 tsunami. “We don’t think it was an overreaction,” Major General Jaruek Sriwarit, a member of the National Disaster Warning Center, said. Even PM Thaksin Shinawatra said: “It’s better to put out the warning than to miss it”. — AFP