No reports of tsunami yet from earthquake, UN official says
UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ The United Nations has no reports of tsunami yet from a major earthquake that struck off the west coast of Indonesia's Sumatra Island on Monday, but did have unconfirmed word of deaths and other casualties, a U.N. official said.
Jan Egeland, the U.N. disaster relief coordinator, told a briefing that there had been widespread panic in areas near the quake, which he said was a "great earthquake'' and not an aftershock from the Dec. 26 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that killed at least 175,000 people in 12 Indian Ocean nations.
"The hard-hit population of western Sumatra have been again struck by a very large earthquake,'' Egeland said. "We do not have reports of any tsunami yet and we have also only limited reports of damage.''
He said there were "unconfirmed reports'' of deaths on Nias, a renowned surfing spot badly hit by the earlier quake.
"What may have happened in Nias, where there are reports of deaths caused by this earthquake, may be that buildings that nearly collaspsed during the first earthquake collapsed now,'' Egeland said. Egeland said there were thousands of relief officials in the region, and they were ready to respond if reports of casualties and damage are confirmed. - AP