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Sumatra quake: 12 NDRF teams kept on stand

New Delhi: Six teams of National Disaster Response Force have been kept in readiness at Chennai and an equal number moved to Hindon airport to deal with any eventuality in the wake of today`s massive temblors off the western coast of northern Sumatra in Indonesia.

A Home Ministry spokesperson said the Andaman Administration has moved people from Nicobar side to safer areas as a precautionary measure. The ministry has asked the Chief Secretaries of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and all eastern coastal states to issue an alert, the spokesperson said in a statement.

The precautionary drill was initiated in the wake of an alert issued by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) following an earthquake of 8.5 magnitude on the Richter scale at 1409 hrs (IST) in Indonesia today. It was revised from the earlier figure of 8.9 magnitude. This was followed by another temblor. The eastern coastal states have been asked to advise fishermen not to venture out in the sea, the spokesperson said.

Earlier in the day, Union Home Secretary R K Singh reviewed the situation in the aftermath of the quake. After the meeting, Singh said there was no cause for panic along India`s coastline and the Government is ready to deal with any eventuality.

After speaking to Chief Secretaries of Odisha and Tamil Nadu, Singh said as of now there are no signs of tsunami. In the meantime, NDRF teams have been deployed and kept on standby as a precautionary measure. "Six teams have moved to Chennai. In addition, six more teams have moved to Hindon airport. Airlift will be organised by the Air Force in case these teams need to be flown," the spokesperson said.

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