A tremor of 8.2 on Richter scale occurred in the Sumatra region this afternoon. An alert was launched immediately to Tsunami warning centres in the region. Several buildings in the Sumatran region are reported to have been damaged; some ten people killed and a hundred injured following several aftershocks felt.
The Mauritius Meteorological Services, which acts as a focal point for tsunami warning in the mascarenes region, received a first alert around 3.00 pm. Minutes after the news was on the air. The authorities met urgently at the Prime Minister’s Office to monitor the situation and decide on the course of action should a tsunami hit our region.
Information obtained subsequently revealed a slight rise in sea level varying between 10 to 30 cm in the eastern region, near Cocos and Christmas islands. The population was nevertheless warned through frequent bulletins not to venture at sea as significant waves could be expected at around 9.00 pm in our waters. Boats were advised to remain on high seas.
Although a small tsunami hit the Indonesian region, no tsunami was experienced on our side, fortunately. It will be long before people can forget the December 2004 tsunami episode that killed more than 200 000 people. In Mauritius people living in the southern coasts still have the trauma sequels of the tidal waves that hit the island earlier this year. Riviere des Galets inhabitants know something about it. But communication and alert systems have since considerably improved with rapid dissemination of information through the multiple media systems.