7 Apr 2010

Tsunami alert lifted after Sumatra quake

9:01 pm on 7 April 2010

A tsunami alert has been lifted after a major earthquake hit the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

The 7.8-magnitude quake occurred at 5.15am local time on Wednesday. Its epicentre was 204km northwest of Sibolga on Sumatra's coast, at a depth of nearly 48km, the US Geological Survey said.

Three aftershocks were reported in the northern province of Aceh, but there were no reports of casualties.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, one of the world's most active areas for earthquakes and volcanoes, the BBC reports.

It has recently been struck by a string of quakes; one off Sumatra in September killed more than 1,000 people.

A magnitude 9.15 quake off the coast of Aceh province in Sumatra triggered the Indian Ocean tsunami on 26 December 2004 that killed about 226,000 people in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and nine other countries.

NZ aid workers safe and well

Two New Zealand ex-pats living close to where the quake hit are reported to be safe. The pair work for Surfaid - a non-profit organisation based in Padang and Nias.

A New Zealand-based spokesperson for the group, Phil Dreifuss, says he has received confirmation that both are safe and well.