2007 This story hasn't ended we are still running the tsunami center and still working hard to help the victims all along the coast who have been left behind.
APRIL 6TH 2008
STOP PRESS: A RUTHLESS SUICIDE BOMBER killed Hon. Sri Lankan minister Jeyaraj Fernandoupulle today while he was raising the flag at a New Years Marathon race. Jeyaraj was a Godfather to Peraliya village and a very dear friend. He will be greatly missed.
It is a sad day today. He was honored in a state funeral Thursday.
We love you.
This site is about volunteering anywhere!! I am out in California right now looking at the fire damage and there is so much work to be done. If you are in the state of California there is much to do!. There are many families who need a kind hand. You don't have to go all the way overseas to be involved in something important as there is always so much work to be done at home.
I know many people who are also still driving down to the Katrina area and spending the week cleaning a families home and rebuilding. Don't assume that because it isn't on the news anymore that the work is done!!!
Give up a week of your life to give back... you will have the time of your lives and meet a whole bunch of new friends along the way!!
NOV 4th 2007
All the latest workings in Peraliya village and Sri Lanka are recorded at the tsunami center website which is communitytsunamiwarning.com
There have been over 60 earthquakes in the "ring of fire" danger zone with a reading of over 5.1 magnitutude in the past month and a half.
Things are quite volatile and people are still very scared and still running inland.
On Sept 12th 2007, CTEC: the tsunami warning center evacuated the whole coastline when a tsunami warning was issued twice.
MISSION : SRI LANKAN COASTLINE SUCCESSFULLY SECURED
NOV 4th 2007 :WAR GROWING:
Sri Lanka tightens security as Tigers vow war
by Amal Jayasinghe Sun Nov 4, 4:58 PM ET
COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lankan security forces stepped up patrols and roadblocks Sunday, fearing reprisals after the death of a top Tamil Tiger leader in a government air strike.
They boosted their presence in and around the capital Colombo as the Tigers' overall leader vowed to step up the long and bloody battle for independence.
Checks at all entry points into Colombo were increased and roadblocks set up within the city of 650,000 people, a police spokesman said.
"We have similar arrangements in other parts of the country too," he said, adding they feared that the Tigers could try to avenge Friday's death of S.P. Thamilselvan, the head of the guerrillas' political wing.
His funeral will be held Monday in rebel-held territory.
The Tigers' leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, said he was determined to keep up the "liberation struggle" despite the killing of Thamilselvan, who was the public face of the separatist organisation.
"Thamilselvan was close to me ever since he joined our freedom movement," Prabhakaran said. "I loved him deeply. I taught him as my own beloved younger brother."
Tiger rebels, who are known for their trademark suicide bombings, have carried out tit-for-tat attacks in the past, their latest on October 22 when they smashed a key air base and destroyed a fleet of planes.
The attack on the air base was seen as revenge for a military offensive in which the guerrillas were expelled from their bases in the island's east.
Thamilselvan, 40, was the highest-ranking member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to be killed by government forces in the 35-year separatist campaign and his death has been seen as a major setback to the separatists.
The LTTE declared three days of mourning and named Thamilselvan a brigadier, the highest rank conferred posthumously on any guerrilla by Prabhakaran since the group's formation in 1972.
Prabhakaran, who turns 53 on November 26, named his police chief P. Nadesan as new leader of the LTTE's political wing.
British politician Liam Fox will arrive in Sri Lanka on Monday for a three-day visit, local media reports said Sunday.
Fox, the opposition Conservative Party's shadow defence minister, will meet Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and defence officials and will make field visits to Vakarai and Trincomalee in the island's eastern district, the reports said.
The defence ministry reported fresh casualties as a result of sporadic clashes at the weekend.
Four Tamil Tiger rebels were killed when security forces exchanged fire with them across the northern defence lines in Jaffna on Sunday, the military said, later adding that one of their soldiers was killed and another injured.
The bullet-riddled bodies of five unidentified men were also found in Vavuniya, the government-held town on the frontlines in the island's embattled north, the ministry said, blaming the killings on the LTTE.
Fighting between troops and rebels has escalated in recent months and official figures show that more than 5,400 people have been killed since December 2005, when a Norwegian-arranged truce began unravelling.
Recent clashes have dimmed hopes of reviving peace talks, which ended in failure in October last year in Geneva. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the island's drawn-out separatist conflict.
OCTOBER 26TH 2007
Indonesia's big one 'on its way'
Experts: 3 major quakes in past week increase chance of major disaster
On the equator, Sumatra holds the deadliest stretch of ocean in the world
Driven by the plate beneath the Indian Ocean, the entire coastline is flexing
Next Article in World »
PADANG, Indonesia (CNN) -- An international team of earthquake specialists says Indonesia faces another potential "giant" quake in the near future.
The scientists, including a team from the California Institute of Technology, says three major quakes in the last week have increased the likelihood of a major disaster.
CNN traveled to the earthquake zone with a scientist who deliberately puts himself in the path of the world's most powerful quakes.
Smack on the equator, Indonesia's Sumatra island holds the deadliest stretch of ocean in the world.
"You'd see a strip 30 meters high, stripped down to bedrock," says John Galetzka, a former U.S. Army ranger who is now adventuring on another frontline as an earthquake geologist. He is investigating the fault line that sparked the 2004 tsunami and, in recent days, three more powerful quakes.
Last Friday, Galetzka shot video footage of the shaking beach, with startled locals scrambling upshore.
His thoughts turned immediately to the tsunami danger, and his command ship offshore. Just moments later he caught the panic near the beach, as he saw families evacuating to the hills about 200 meters behind their village.
The day before, another big quake struck -- larger, but further away. Galetzka recalls the long slow waves and a shivering water bottle. For the American geologist, this is where theory meets reality.
"I just felt like the luckiest man alive to feel two strong events," he says. "You can almost hear the excitement in my voice -- oh my gosh, this is it, this is it ..."
Galetzka is now examining the evidence that his team believes indicates the arrival another giant earthquake, and possible tsunami.
He has established a network of position-markers, linked by satellite, that show a constant creep, northeast, among the islands on Indonesia's Indian Ocean frontier. The first one was placed in August 2002.
The 30 measuring stations along Sumatra's western coast tell an ominous tale. Driven by the plate beneath the Indian Ocean, the entire coastline is flexing, as the earth literally bends. The pressures are already enormous, and at some point probably soon, they will become intolerable.
The implications are terrifying.
"Eventually it has got to release in (the form) of giant earthquake," states Galetzka matter-of-factly.
It could be a rare magnitude-9 quake, and with the plates so tightly sprung, it will happen sooner, he believes, rather than later.
Knowing what he knows, does he worry about the people living along this coast?
"I absolutely do," he replies. "I tell them to be prepared. Whenever I am in Padang I think about my escape routes, almost every moment."
As he criss-crosses around the islands, searching for data, Galetzka says his aim is to save lives. But he, more than anyone, knows the risks -- that one day he'll confront a giant wave, a tsunami powerful enough to swallow islands.
The geologist's voice quivers as he imagines "the big one."
"If we saw it, we'd just head right into it. I'd shake your hand and say, good luck!"
All About U.S. Geological Survey • Sumatra • Indonesia
OCTOBER 23RD 2007
The epicenter for the 6.2-magnitude quake was about 90 miles (145 km) west-southwest Bengkulu and struck around 10:44 a.m. (11:44 p.m. ET Monday.)
There was no sign of large waves on beaches and authorities lifted the alert an hour later.
A series of powerful earthquakes in the same region last month killed 23 people and damaged or destroyed thousands of buildings.
There were no immediate reports of deaths, injuries or damage from Tuesday's temblor.
Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.
A massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami on December 26, 2004, killed more than 131,000 people in Indonesia's Aceh province and left a half-million homeless.
SEPT 12TH 2007 :POWERFUL EARTHQUAKES TERRORIZE INDONESIA, EXPERTS WARN OF THE BIG ONE
Indonesia's quake toll rose to 23
Indonesian quake toll at 23, more than 15000 buildings damaged
AFP - 9 hours ago
Death Toll Rises from Indonesia Quake, Aftershocks
PADANG, Indonesia (AP) — Days of colossal earthquakes and tsunami warnings have forced traumatized Indonesian villagers to seek safety in the last place imaginable: graveyards.
With only plastic sheeting to keep her family dry, Dasima joined hundreds camping in the mud between headstones on the flat, high ground, far from the ocean's reach.
"I am very afraid of another tsunami," the 50-year-old said two days after an 8.4-magnitude temblor sent a towering wave into her remote fishing village. "We will stay here until we feel it is safe."
Seismologists warn, however, the worst may be yet to come.
Kerry Sieh of the California Institute of Technology has spent decades studying the fault line that runs along Indonesia's western coast. He is among several experts predicting a repeat of the powerful earthquake that triggered the 2004 Asian tsunami, which killed more than 230,000 people in a dozen Indian Ocean countries.
"No one can say whether it will be in 30 seconds or 30 years," he said. "But what happened the other day, I think is quite possibly a sequence of smaller earthquakes leading up to the bigger one."
Wednesday's quake shook four Southeast Asian countries, damaged hundreds of houses and spawned a three-metre-high tsunami. At least 13 people were killed. A series of powerful earthquakes and dozens of strong aftershocks followed, including ones Thursday measuring 7.8 and another 7.1. There was a 6.4 quake on Friday.
The wall of water that slammed into several fishing villages along Sumatra island's coast Wednesday swept away nearly a dozen houses, but overall damage was "minimal," Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said after an air force aerial survey.
A nine-member UN assessment team reached the same conclusion after visiting the area, saying that a major international relief operation was not required, John Holmes, the UN's emergency relief co-ordinator, said in a statement from New York.
Many people said a public awareness campaign launched after the 2004 tsunami paid off, including warnings issued over mosque speakers and training provided by local officials on how to escape a disaster.
"When the earth started shaking, some people yelled, 'It's time to go up the hill ... Let's get going,"' said Fadil, 35, a father of two, describing how he and hundreds of neighbours watched from above as the three-metre wave approached. Hundreds of houses were damaged, but no one died.
Elsewhere, however, electricity blackouts prevented some sirens from going off.
The latest quakes, together with the 9.0-magnitude temblor in 2004 and an 8.7 quake in early 2005, deeply concern experts.
The fault, which runs the length of the west coast of Sumatra about 200 kilometres offshore, is the meeting point of the Eurasian and Pacific tectonic plates, which have been pushing against each other for millions of years, causing huge stresses to build up.
"There is a strong indication this foreshadows the big one," said Danny Hillman, an earthquake specialist at the Indonesian Institute of Science. "We all agree there is an 8.5 or stronger earthquake waiting to happen."
That's exactly what residents along Sumatra's western coast, which is expected to bear the brunt of the next disaster, are worried about. The island was hardest hit by the 2004 tsunami, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the deaths.
In the fishing village of Sungai Pisang, just south of the badly damaged city of Padang, hundreds of people were too scared to return home after the recent tremors sent a large wave washing into their bay.
Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, with a population of 235 million people, is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.
DISCUSSION ON RECENT SEPT 12TH 2007 8.4 SUMATRA EARTHQUAKE:
The magnitude 8.4 and 7.8 southern Sumatra earthquakes of September 12, 2007 occurred as the result of thrust faulting on the boundary between the Australia and Sunda plates. At the location of these earthquakes, the Australia plate moves northeast with respect to the Sunda plate at a velocity of about 60 mm/year. The direction of relative plate motion is oblique to the orientation of the plate boundary offshore of the west coast of Sumatra. The component of plate-motion perpendicular to the boundary is accommodated by thrust faulting on the offshore plate-boundary. Much of the component of plate motion parallel to the plate boundary is accommodated by strike-skip faulting on the Sumatra fault, which is inland on Sumatra proper.
The magnitude 8.4 earthquake of September 12, 2007 is the fourth earthquake of magnitude greater than 7.9 to have occurred in the past decade on or near the plate boundaries offshore of western Sumatra. This earthquake occurred just north of the source region of the magnitude 7.9 earthquake on June 4, 2000. The September 12, 2007 magnitude 7.8 earthquake occurred about 225 km northwest of the magnitude 8.4 earthquake at the northern end of the aftershock zone. These two earthquakes and their aftershocks overlay the southern portion of the estimated 1833 rupture zone, which extends from approximately Eggano Island to the northern portion of Siberut Island. The great magnitude 9.1 earthquake of December 26, 2004, which produced the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of that date, ruptured much of the boundary separating the India plate and the Burma plate. Immediately to the south of the great 2004 earthquake, the magnitude 8.6 Nias Island earthquake of March 28, 2005, ruptured a segment of the plate boundary separating the Australia and Sunda plates. Since the December 26, 2004 earthquake, much of the Sunda trench between the northern Andaman Islands to Eggano Island, a distance of more than 2,000 km, has ruptured in a series of large subduction zone earthquakes.
RELIEF EFFORTS BEGIN IN INDONESIAN QUAKE ZONE.
By Nancy-Amelia Collins
13 September 2007
Relief efforts are underway on Indonesia's Sumatra Island after the country was hit by four powerful earthquakes and a succession of large aftershocks in less than 24 hours. The tremors toppled buildings, killed several people and injured dozens more. VOA's Nancy-Amelia Collins in Jakarta has more.
A local girl at her house destroyed by earthquake in Bengkulu, Sumatra island, 13 Sep 2007
Government and international emergency teams headed to Sumatra to survey the earthquake damage and help those in need.
Officials say dozens have been injured, several people killed, and many buildings have been destroyed.
Sutrisno, the head of Indonesia's National Disaster Coordinating Agency, says representatives of various government ministries are already on the scene.
"They will have a meeting with the vice governor there and they are going to make also a rapid, very rapid assessment regarding a needs assessment and damage assessment ... But meanwhile, we are also in here still collecting the food for the relief assistance, like food and medicine, and we will send there by special aircraft, by Hercules," said Sutrisno.
Sumatra has been jolted by four powerful earthquakes since late Wednesday.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the first was centered about 105 kilometers southwest of Bengkulu, a major city on Sumatra's southwestern coast. At a magnitude of 8.4, it was the most powerful earthquake to strike anywhere in the world this year.
Two more quakes followed early Thursday - the first of 7.9 magnitude, and a second several hours later measured 7.1. There have also been more than 20 sizable aftershocks, all situated along the coastline between Bengkulu and the city of Padang. A fourth serious quake struck late Thursday north of Indonesia's Sulawesi Island, far to the east of Sumatra.
Indonesia issued five separate tsunami warnings during the period, and two small tsunamis were reported, but neither caused any serious damage or injury. An Indonesian official said that despite the number and severity of the tremors, injuries have been far fewer than feared.
Country Director Craig Redmond, of Mercy Corps, an international relief organization, says aid teams have reported considerable physical destruction.
"Lots of houses destroyed, [there are] needs for shelter, things like that," he said. "Right now they are up there seeing where we can add value and how we can coordinate with local officials."
The 9.1 magnitude quake that devastated Indonesia's Aceh province in December 2004 and triggered the Indian Ocean tsunami occurred not far north of the latest tremors off Sumatra's west coast.
The U.S. Geological Service reports that more than 283,000 people in a dozen countries were killed in that disaster. More than half of the victims died in Aceh.
Indonesia's presidential spokesman, Andi Mallerangeng, says these disasters have made the nation stronger.
"We know that we are living in the ring of fire with all different kinds of natural phenomenon... But I think we are a strong nation, every time we are getting stronger. We deal with the situation," he said.
Indonesia lies on the "Pacific Ring of Fire", a geologically active area that is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Indonesian quake toll at 23, more than 15,000 buildings damaged
9 hours ago
MUKOMUKO, Indonesia (AFP) — The death toll from a series of major earthquakes striking Indonesia's Sumatra rose to 23 on Saturday, while officials tallied more than 15,000 collapsed or damaged buildings.
An initial 8.4-magnitude quake struck at dusk off Sumatra's west coast on Wednesday and was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, jolting the coastal provinces of Bengkulu and West Sumatra most severely.
Rustam Pakaya from the health ministry's crisis centre told AFP the toll had risen to 23, with 88 wounded.
Rescue teams have been continuing their hunt for victims feared trapped under thousands of buildings toppled by the quakes, and many traumatised survivors have been too petrified to return to their homes.
In Bengkulu, nearly 2,000 houses were totally flattened and nearly 4,000 others badly damaged, said Bowo Santoso from the governor's disaster rescue centre. About 90 local hospitals and clinics were also damaged, he added.
In West Sumatra, more than 9,700 houses collapsed or were too badly damaged to be inhabitable, said Suryadi from the disaster rescue centre there. More than 100 mosques and about 20 school buildings were also damaged, he said.
Aid has been flowing to many of the affected areas, though some survivors had still not seen any of it.
Hercules transport planes were to try to drop aid on several islands in the Mentawai group off Sumatra, which were badly hit by the quake and a small tsunami, said an official in the city of Padang.
Frans Karel, an official on Pagai Utara island in the group, said no aid had yet been received and many frightened villagers were sheltering in the hills.
"We haven't yet received aid. All the kiosks have collapsed and their food stocks are wet," he told AFP by telephone.
"Almost 75 percent of houses on the coastline along a 10-kilometre (six-mile) stretch are badly damaged and collapsed."
In the city of Mukomuko, about 260 kilometres north of Bengkulu, residents were desperate for help.
"We have no rice, we have clothes, we have no kerosene. We want to buy supplies, but there is no one to sell them to us," 50-year-old resident Muslimar told AFP.
The scale of the damage, considering the initial quake's size and subsequent shocks, has been much lower than initially feared. The UN has said no international aid effort would be required to help with recovery efforts.
Death Toll Rises from Indonesia Quake, Aftershocks
By VOA News
15 September 2007
Indonesian authorities say the death toll has risen to 21 from a series of strong earthquakes and aftershocks that have hit the western island of Sumatra this week.
Authorities announced the new death toll Saturday, as rescue workers tended to quake survivors. The health ministry now says at least 88 people have been injured.
Seismologists say Indonesia has been hit by at least 40 big aftershocks after an initial eight-point-four magnitude earthquake struck Wednesday.
Thousands of people are still sleeping outdoors for fear of falling debris. The quakes damaged hundreds of houses, leaving many people homeless.
Despite the destruction, a U.N. assessment team says there is no need for a major international relief effort. The team visited Bengkulu, an area near the epicenter of the quake on Thursday.
The Indonesian archipelago is prone to seismic activity because of its location on an arc of volcanos and fault lines circling the Pacific Basin.
In December 2004, a tsunami triggered by an underwater earthquake killed an estimated 230,000 people near Indian Ocean coastlines, including more than 160,000 people in Indonesia's Aceh province.
AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS
ORIGIN TIME - 0602Z 14 SEP 2007
COORDINATES - 4.2 SOUTH 101.3 EAST
LOCATION - SOUTHERN SUMATRA INDONESIA
MAGNITUDE - 6.5
5.2 2007/09/14 03:07:14 -3.010 101.083 39.2 SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
5.0 2007/09/14 01:31:57 -3.757 100.759 27.5 KEPULAUAN MENTAWAI REGION, INDONESIA
5.5 2007/09/14 01:02:07 -3.696 101.845 35.0 SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
Sept 13th TSUNAMI WARNING /ADVISORY ISSUED FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY- SRI LANKA
WITHDRAWAL of TSUNAMI ADVISORY WARNING ISSUED ON 13TH SEPT 2007 at 0610 HOURS has been WITHDRAWN AT 0900 hours 13/09/07
NEW: Quake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 struck late Thursday
6.2 2007/09/13 16:09:10 -3.247 101.439 3.3 SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
6.2 2007/09/13 09:48:44 3.794 126.411 21.1 KEPULAUAN TALAUD, INDONESIA
7.0 2007/09/13 03:35:27 -2.160 99.581 10.0 KEPULAUAN MENTAWAI REGION, INDONESIA
7.9 2007/09/12 23:49:04 -2.506 100.906 30.0 KEPULAUAN MENTAWAI REGION, INDONESIA
5.1 2007/09/12 23:19:44 -4.082 100.907 10.0 SOUTHWEST OF SUMATRA, INDONESIA
5.3 2007/09/12 17:04:33 -7.598 126.085 307.3 KEPULAUAN BARAT DAYA, INDONESIA
5.9 2007/09/12 16:37:02 -3.142 101.377 21.2 SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
5.2 2007/09/12 15:35:09 -4.262 101.008 35.0 SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
6.0 2007/09/12 14:40:03 -3.227 101.361 18.8 SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
SEPT 13TH 2007 : 0600 HOURS TSUNAMI WARNING ALERT FROM METEOROLOGY DEPARTMENT!: MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND NOW!
JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 struck late Thursday off the western coast of Sumatra, the same area shaken by a major 8.4-magnitude temblor that killed nine people Wednesday.
A woman salvages items from her newly built house at Air Besi in North Bengkulu Thursday.
The region has been wracked by quakes and aftershocks for the past two days.
The most recent quake struck at 11:09 p.m. (12:09 p.m. ET), 110 kilometers (65 miles) west-northwest of Sumatra's Bengkulu province at a depth of only 3 km (2 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The Indonesian government issued, then canceled, a tsunami alert. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
A quake with the same magnitude struck the region several hours earlier, at 5:48 p.m. (6:48 a.m. ET). The temblor vibrated under the Celebes Sea at a depth of about 21 km (13 miles).
It was centered about 290 km (180 miles) northeast of Bitung, a city on the northern coast of Sulawesi, and the same distance south-southeast of General Santos, Mindanao, Philippines.
Wednesday's quake generated a series of aftershocks, including two major ones early Thursday measuring 7.8 and 8.1, said David Applegate, senior science adviser at the U.S. Geological Survey.
"It's been an incredible number of years for Indonesia and particularly for Sumatra" in terms of earthquakes, Applegate said on CNN's "American Morning" on Thursday.
"What we have here is a subduction zone, where one of the Earth's plates is moving down beneath the other," he said.
"In this case, the Indian Ocean and the Australian Plate are moving beneath the Eurasian Plate.
"In this kind of a situation you're going to get earthquakes as the strain builds up, but what we're seeing now is almost every segment of this plate has ruptured just in the last several years," Applegate said.
"In each case, it relieves pressure in one area but then that increases the pressure somewhere else. And so, for example, what we saw yesterday was the magnitude 8.4 quake ruptured to the north along this boundary. This 7.8 was at the northern end of that."
In the past 24 hours the region has been rocked by heavy seismic activity -- with a total of at least 60 tremors rattling the country, according to Indonesia's Social Welfare Minister Aburizal Bakrie.
The seismic shakedown began Wednesday night with a deadly 8.4-magnitude quake -- centered in southern Sumatra, which is west northwest of Jakarta.
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Thursday morning at about 6:45 a.m. (7:45 p.m. Wednesday ET), USGS said. The epicenter was about 185 km south-southeast of Padang and about 200 km northwest of Bengkulu.
About four hours later, the USGS reported that a 7.1-magnitude quake had rocked the region. Sandwiched in-between were half a dozen temblors measuring 5.0 and above.
At least 10 aftershocks of magnitude 5.1 to 6.0 were felt in the region after the larger quake, which shook buildings hundreds of miles away, killed at least nine people and generated a small tsunami about 60 cm high along the Sumatran coast.
"Our main concern is the people," Bakrie said from Padang. "The victims are not as dire as we thought and everything has been taken care of."
People in the Indian Ocean region have been extremely skittish about the possibility of earthquake-induced tsunamis since December 2004, when gigantic waves triggered by a 9.1-magnitude quake that killed more than 200,000 people in seven countries.
Wednesday evening's quake killed at least nine people in Bengkulu province and Padang, and an unknown number were injured or missing, according to officials. Search-and-rescue operations, suspended overnight, resumed at daylight Thursday, which also marked the start of the holy month of Ramadan in the mostly Muslim country.
The relatively light loss of life can be attributed to national and provincial governments being battle-tested by a string of powerful earthquakes over the last three years, Bakrie said.
"The people understand more about the problems and the danger of the earthquakes," according to Bakrie. "The central government as well as the district government, at the provincial level, has warned the people ... so the system works."
The powerful quake shook buildings about 385 miles away in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and also in Singapore, about 435 miles from the epicenter.
"Doors started to creak, and the whole apartment seemed to ... make a cracking noise," said Rahayu Saraswati, who lives on the 35th floor of a building in Jakarta. "We ran out to the emergency staircase with other residents of the floor and ran all the way down to the lobby."
Bakrie said thousands of homes have been damaged in Sumatra.
Indonesia, a chain of islands in a seismically active area, is highly prone to earthquakes. Since the devastating tsunami of December 2004, Indonesia has fallen victim to 15 earthquakes with magnitudes of 6.3 or higher, according to the USGS. The quakes have killed almost 8,000 people, with the bulk of the deaths coming last summer.
The deadliest quake last summer came on May 26, 2006, when a magnitude-6.3 quake 16 km south-southeast of Yogyakarta left 5,749 dead. On July 17, 2006, a magnitude-7.7 temblor hit 145 miles south-southwest of Tasikmalaya, in Indonesia's Java region. The quake killed 730 people.
Another devastating quake on March 28, 2005 -- a magnitude-8.7 about 201 km west-northwest of Sibolga -- killed 1,313 people.
TSUNAMI WARNING ISSUED
SEPT 12th 8.4 2007/09/12 11:10:26 -4.521 101.370 30.0 SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
8.4 Earthquake strikes Sumatra Indonesia: Tsunami warning alert issued in region including Sri Lanka and the "ring of fire" nations.
CTEC is aiding in evacuating villagers three miles inland.
10 foot wave recored in Indonesia, 12 houses washed out to sea.
An earthquake registering a massive 8.4 on the Richter scale has struck off the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
Officials in the West Sumatran town of Bengkulu, the closest major centre to the quake, have confirmed two deaths and 11 injuries.
Buildings in the town, about 100 kilometres from the undersea epicentre of the earthquake, have also suffered damage.
Further up the island's coast in Padang, at least three men are feared to be trapped beneath a collapsed car showroom.
An Australian aid worker in the region, Karl Willcos of Surfaid International, says the full extent of the damage to the area is still being assessed.
"The place started shaking and then it just progressively got worse and the road was rolling and the towers were moving and the cars were like when you get a car and you've got a few people on each side of it and just pushing it from side to side," he said.
"I've just seen some of the damage that's actually in the city here and it looks pretty bad."