Thousands of people were evacuated to higher ground in Andaman and Nicobar islands on Wednesday, as tsunami waves up to 3.9 metres high triggered by earthquakes in Indonesia, could hit the islands.

Andaman and Nichobar
Andaman and Nichobar

"There could be high waves of 1.5 metres at Port Blair and 3.9 metres at Campbell Bay," Reuters quoted Prabhakar Rao, the official in charge of the disaster control room at Port Blair, as saying.

People staying in low lying areas have been evacuated to evade any possible disaster.

"We have evacuated people from low lying areas of Campbell Bay islands and we have also alerted them as there is a report that high waves may hit Indira Point area," south Andaman region police superintendent S.B.S. Tyagi said.

Union Home Ministry had earlier asked the Chief Secretaries of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and all East Coast States to issue an alert, in view of the alert issued by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS).

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed in coastal areas on precautionary measures.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 8.7 Richter scale hit waters off westernmost Aceh province, Indonesia, on Wednesday. There were no reports of casualties or damage from the huge earthquake.

Tremors were felt in Indian cities like Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Patna, Vizag, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Cuttack, Bhubaneshwar and several other places in coastal areas following the massive earthquake in Indonesia.

The US Geological Survey said that the quake struck 308 miles (500 km) southwest of the city of Banda Aceh, on the northern tip of Indonesia's Sumatra Island, at a depth of 20.5 miles (33 km).

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii had earlier issued a tsunami alert to countries like Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Somalia, Oman, Iran, Bangladesh, Kenya, South Africa, Singapore, the Maldives and other Indian Ocean islands.

However, many countries including India have lifted tsunami alert.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said that tsunami is unlikely to happen in the Indian Ocean. Union Home secretary also asked the people not to panic, as Indian coastal line is unlikely to be affected.

(With Inputs from Reuters)