By Cundoko Aprilianto
JAKARTA, April 12 (Xinhua) - Most people in Indonesia's earthquake and tsunami-prone areas are in better preparation at anticipating earthquake and tsunami, supported by rising awareness, active socialization by authorities and more advanced technology.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, head of Data Center, Information and Public Relations at the National Agency of Disaster Mitigation ( BNPB), said that Tsunami Early Warning System (TEWS) has been running smoothly.
People were also responsive on the warning and immediately took refuge to higher lands as soon as they were informed about the potential tsunami, he said.
"Evacuation announcement was made from various media such as mosque and church," said Nugroho.
Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN, also the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator, along with the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre) who closely monitored the situation, said that ASEAN is better prepared to deal with disasters now than in 2004 when the Great Indian Ocean tsunami hit and 240,000 perished
"All devices detecting tsunami in the Indian Ocean worked well, and all capitals were on alert," added Pitsuwan
The Jakarta-based AHA Centre was also in constant contact with all ten ASEAN countries and its partners.
Suharjono, a seismologist in charge of Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said that while earthquakes could occur at any time without notice, the BKMG could detect the presence of a tsunami within several minutes of an earthquake.
He said that tsunamis were more likely to occur if an earthquake's epicenter was located near the junction of two tectonic plates.
The 8.5 Richter scale-earthquake occured on Wednesday located in 346 kilometers southwest Simeuleu regency, followed by 16 aftershocks.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency has issued tsunami early warning. Moreover, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in Hawaii also issued tsunami travel times that were effective in Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and others.
However, reports by the National Agency for Survey and Coordination and Mapping (BAKOSURTANAL) showed that the earthquakes only generated small tsunamis of about 1 meter-height in several coasts in Sumatra Island.
According to analysis of several earthquake experts from the Technology Institute of Bandung in West Java province and Australia-Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction (AIFDR), the earthquakes were sourced from horizontal fracture, not vertical fracture or better known as "mega thrust".
Besides, they were located in the outer rise earthquake. "The 8. 5 magnitude was followed by 8.8 Richter scale two hours later in Indo Australia plate meaning that earthquakes got farer to the west, significantly reducing tsunami potentials," Nugroho said.