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Vizag shaken, but no damage done

Our Bureau

Visakhapatnam , Dec. 26

IT was a disconcerting wake-up call on Sunday morning for many of the citizens of Visakhapatnam, as they felt jolted in their beds in the aftermath of the massive quake, which hit Sumatra in Indonesia.

It was felt sometime between 6.30 a.m and 6.45 a.m by many and they rushed out of the apartments and houses in panic. But it soon subsided.

However, as satellite channels started beaming news about the earthquake and there were reports (and exaggerated rumours) of rising sea level, people thronged the Ramakrishna beach and the fishing harbour in large numbers.

The Police Commissioner, Mr Prasada Rao, issued a statement reassuring people that there was no cause for concern, but they should stay away from the sea.

Mr N.S.N. Raju, technical officer in the National Institute of Oceanography here, said in an interview that he had observed tidal variations and a noticeable change in the wave pattern.

"Every seven to eight minutes, it can be noticed. Apparently, it is due to the seismic disturbances recorded near Indonesia. There may be other contributory factors. It is Poornima (the full moon day) which may have accentuated the impact," he said.

Fishermen in the fishing harbour were caught unawares, as there was a sudden influx of water and the catch had to be abandoned.

Subsequently, the water receded.

Navy to the rescue: The naval ships and aircraft of the Eastern Naval Command, with its headquarters here, were deployed to undertake relief and rescue operations along the coast.

The naval authorities said they were working in association with the civil authorities in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in the operation.

The ENC launched its helicopters and fixed winged naval aircraft from the naval air stations at INS Dega here and INS Rajali at Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu.

Ships and aircraft were also ready to render assistance to Andaman and Nicobar islands, the naval authorities added.

Coast Guard deploys vessels: According to a press release issued by Commandant, K.A. Subramanyam, the Indian Coast Guard, Visakhapatnam, sent one helicopter to Vijayawada for search and rescue operations.

Three Coast Guard ships from here - Raziya Sultana, Priyadarshini and Chandibibi - were deployed for the operation off the north Andhra coast and Kakinada coast. ICGS Kittur Chennamma set sail from Chennai for search and rescue off Nellore coast.

More Stories on : Natural Calamities | Andhra Pradesh

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