Quake hits Andaman, Orissa; tremors felt in Chennai, Hong Kong

NEW DELHI: An earthquake hit the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal around 10.24 pm on Tuesday but no damage has been reported. Though Indian authorities said the earthquake measured 6.8 on the Richter scale, the US Geological Survey said it measured 6.4.

Indian Meteorological Department adviser R. Bhattacharya said the epicenter was north, off the coast of the islands.

Local police official Shabbir Ahmad in Port Blair, the main city in the region, said no damage has been reported so far.

Vivek Ray, a senior Port Blair official, said no tsunami warning has been issued. “There has been no loss of life or property. The only injuries were two people who jumped from a roof after the tremor,” Ray said.

The quake was felt in some parts of Orissa including Bhubaneswar. As some places including Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Jagatsinghpur and Jajpur were shaken by the tremor, people were seen moving out of their houses. Many people in Cuttack and Jagatsinghpur spent time in the open.

Meanwhile, tremors were also felt in various parts of Chennai but there were no reports of casualty or damage to property, officials said.

The US Geoglocial Survey placed the epicentre of the quake at a depth of 45.4 kilometres (28.2 miles) and at a point 217 kilometres (135 miles) north of Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman islands.

The epicentre was also 406 kilometres (252 miles) southwest of Pathein and 500 kilometres (310 miles) southwest of Yangon, both in Myanmar.

A bulletin issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center to government agencies said that the quake posed no “destructive widespread tsunami” threat.

In Dhaka, Bazlur Rashid, a meteorologist at Bangladesh’s weather office, said they were aware of “a very small chance of a local tsunami in the Indian Ocean area.”

Bangladesh lies on the northern shore of the Andaman Sea, facing the earthquake’s epicentre, but, Rashid said, “We are not issuing a tsunami warning for Bangladesh, we are not concerned.”

The earthquake was felt as far away as Hong Kong, around 2,500 kilometres (1,500 miles) to the east, where the Hong Kong Observatory said it had recorded an “intense earthquake” with a magnitude of 6.4.

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