A 6.5 aftershock has been registered following an earlier 8.6 earthquake in the Aceh region off the northern Sumatra coast in Indonesia today. In the wake of a tsunami warning, people are fleeing to higher ground.
It started with an earthquake which registered at 8.6 on the Richter scale. Now the Geophysical Agency in Indonesia has registered a 6.5 aftershock.
The U.S. Geological Survey reports that a tsunami warning has been issued across the Indian Ocean.
A rescue team is being sent to Aceh, following the loss of electricity in the province and Reuters advises that locals are fleeing to higher ground, as can be seen in the above video.
According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, in the event of a possible tsunami, waves could reach the provincial capital Banda Aceh shortly.
Their warning reads: "Earthquakes of this size have the potential to generate a widespread destructive tsunami that can affect coastlines across the entire indian ocean basin. Authorities in the region should take appropriate action in response to the possibility."
The President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has stated that Indonesia has as yet faced "no tsunami threat, but we are on alert".
Communication with the region is poor, but so far Indonesia's Geophysical Agency has not received reports of damage or a rise in water levels in Aceh.
The city of Banda Aceh is closest to the epicenter of the earthquake, which lies 33 km beneath the ocean floor - the city being situated 500 kilometers away.
Banda Aceh has a population of over 220,000. At this stage the city's port remains open according to local officials.
Earthquake tremors have been felt as far afield as Thailand, Malaysia, southern India and Singapore. Tweets from residents have said that high-rise buildings on the west coast of Malaysia shook for at least a minute. Also, a local official said that India's port Chennai was closed after the quake.
Patrick M. Bonafede - U.S. Navy
Indonesia after 2004 tsunami
The Indonesian province of Aceh was the main victim of the huge 2004 earthquake and tsunami, so residents are naturally concerned. in December 2004, the giant 9.1 earthquake triggered an Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 230,000 people. Almost three-quarters of them were in Aceh.
With Indonesia straddling a series of fault lines, this makes the nation prone to both seismic and volcanic activity.
Latest update: The tsunami warning has now been lifted - see article.