Sri Lanka evacuates coastline fearing another tsunami

Thousands of coastal residents in Sri Lanka fled their coastal homes Tuesday after the government issued a tsunami alert following a powerful quake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Thousands of coastal residents in Sri Lanka fled their coastal homes Tuesday after the government issued a tsunami alert following a powerful quake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The meteorological department here, however, withdrew its tsunami warning nearly five hours after the earthquake measuring 8.7 on the Richter scale struck.

Met chief P. M. Jayatilake said they decided to withdraw the tsunami warning as there were no reports of unusual wave activity anywhere in the neighbouring countries within the Indian Ocean.

A more powerful submarine earthquake near Indonesia on December 26 triggered tsunamis and killed nearly 31,000 people in Sri Lanka.

Police Inspector-General Chandra Fernando said constables had earlier used loud hailers to urge coastal residents to get to higher ground inland. The government used state radio and television to warn residents about the threat.

Local residents along the north-western coastal area of Negombo said people moved to temples and churc