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India cancels tsunami warning after major quake
Updated: 2005-03-29 07:43

NEW DELHI - India on Tuesday canceled a tsunami warning issued after a powerful earthquake off Indonesia's Sumatra island and said people could return home.

"About four hours have passed since the occurrence of the earthquake and no unusual sea conditions have been reported," said the interior ministry's disaster management unit.

"In view of this, the advice by the (India Meteorological Department) regarding the possibility of a tsunami stands canceled," it said in a statement. "People may go back to their homes."

The 8.7 magnitude quake had prompted fears of a repeat of a Dec. 26 tsunami in which nearly 300,000 people were killed or reported missing across large parts of Asia.

Earlier, authorities in India's southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala -- struck by the December tsunami triggered by a 9.0 magnitude quake -- said they had ordered people to be evacuated from some coastal areas.

Fishermen were told not to go out to sea, and the army and navy were put on alert.

Panic spread among people in Nagapattinam, one of the worst-hit districts in Tamil Nadu on Dec. 26, and many fled to higher ground, officials said.

In the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh, officials said they had evacuated people from 11 coastal villages in Prakasam district.

Officials on the Andaman and Nicobar islands said they had seen no change in the water level in and around Port Blair, capital of the remote archipelago some 800 miles off India's mainland.

More than 7,000 people are believed to have been killed when the December tsumani struck the islands.

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