BANGKOK — A powerful 8.6-magnitude earthquake struck more than 200 miles off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Wednesday, spreading panic among residents and reviving memories of the devastating 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the same area.
The earthquake was felt in Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, news agencies reported, with coastal areas of southern Thailand and eastern India declaring tsunami alerts and Indonesia issuing a tsunami warning following the aftershocks.
Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, told reporters at a news conference in Jakarta that the earthquake had caused “a little bit of panic.”
In Banda Aceh, which was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in 2004, buildings shook for several minutes, and people poured into the streets from their homes, said Rizal, a resident of the city reached by telephone.
“The only problem we had was people panicking,” said Rizal, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name.