January 10, 2012 / 7:00 PM / 7 years ago

Indonesia lifts tsunami warning after Sumatra quake

Indonesia issued a tsunami warning on Wednesday after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck off northern Sumatra, panicking local residents who fled their houses. REUTERS/Reuters News Graphics

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters) - Indonesia lifted a tsunami warning on Wednesday after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck off northern Sumatra, calming local residents who had earlier fled their houses to higher ground.

Indonesia’s meteorological and geophysics agency, which routinely issues tsunami warnings for quakes over 7 magnitude, said the quake had been felt in northern and western Sumatra.

Local people in Banda Aceh ran in panic from buildings after news of the tsunami warning and the quake, though were returning to their homes after the warning was lifted. No major damage in the provincial capital was seen, witnesses said.

A witness at the beach in Aceh said the sea level had decreased following the quake, which also happened before a 2004 quake off Aceh created a tsunami that killed over 200,000 people around the Indian Ocean.

Alfan, a resident of Banda Aceh, said he joined about one hundred people gathered on a bridge in the town to watch the surface of a river to check if there was any change in its surface height, showing locals remain nervous about a big wave reaching shore.

The quake was 420 km (260 miles) southwest of Banda Aceh, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Reporting by Reza Munawir and Ahmadi in Banda Aceh, and Olivia Rondonuwu in Jakarta; Writing by Neil Chatterjee; Editing by Matthew Bigg, Bernard Orr

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