Chennai, April 11 (IANS) Fear gripped Tamil Nadu and a tsunami alert was sounded Wednesday after two powerful earthquakes in Indonesia triggered strong tremors across the state.
The quake brought back memories of the 2004 tsunami that killed more than 7,000 people along Tamil Nadu's coast.
Port officials hurriedly evacuating ships from the harbour, and officials kept a strict vigil at nuclear power plants.
Police ordered people to vacate the Marina beach here.
"We have asked 16 ships to vacate the port and go into the sea. We have stopped all cargo handling," Chennai Port Trust chairman Atulya Misra told IANS soon after the tsunami warning.
The Hyderabad-based Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) said it expected waves measuring around 50 cm (around 1.5 ft) in Chennai and 40 cm waves near the Andaman islands.
Strong tremors were felt in several places in Tamil Nadu following the massive earthquake in Indonesia, with tens of thousands of people rushing out of their homes and high-rise buildings.
Some schools hurriedly moved students into open grounds.
The tremors were felt around 2.10 p.m and around 4.20 p.m. in Chennai.
Officials at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tirunelveli, about 650 km from here, were on high alert.
"We are checking out whether any work is on near the coast," an official of Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) told IANS.
NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW atomic power project at Kudankulam.
Similarly, at Kalpakkam, where NPCIL's Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) is located, officials went on high alert, MAPS station director K. Ramamurthy told IANS.
Tremors were felt in Madurai, Coimbatore, Nagapattinam and other areas.
"I was on the floor reading a paper when I felt the tremors. I rushed out of the apartment along with several others," said W. Shobha, who lives in Chennai's Adyar area.
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