U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged assistance to Indonesia, following an 8.6-magnitude earthquake that placed countries around the Indian Ocean on tsunami watch.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake struck Northern Sumatra 2:38 p.m. April 11 (local time). The temblor was centered 33 kilometers below the ocean floor, 434 kilometers from Banda Aceh in Sumatra. A few hours later, an aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 8.2 struck the western coast, with the epicenter 617 kilometers from Banda Aceh.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami alert minutes after the quake. The watch was lifted some four hours later, but PTWC said government agencies were still responsible for decisions about the official state of alert in their countries.
The earthquake was felt in Singapore, Thailand, Bangladesh, Malaysia and India, The Associated Press reports. Electricity is down in Banda Aceh but there have been no reports on damage and casualties so far, according to Bloomberg.
Cameron arrived in Jakarta hours before the quake struck for a bilateral meeting with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the Belfast Telegraph reports. In a joint press conference with the Indonesian president, Cameron said the United Kingdom is ready to help in any way necessary.
A 9.1-magnitude earthquake off Sumatra in 2004 triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed more than 170,000 people in Aceh.
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