A magnitude-8.7 underwater earthquake hit Indonesia`s Sumatran coast around 11:09 p.m. (local time) on March 28, killing about 2,000 people on Nias Island, according to foreign press reports.
Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla told the el-Shinta radio station March 29 that between 1,000 and 2,000 people on Nias were killed in the earthquake. The death toll was based on the report that 70 percent of houses on the island are destroyed and that there are still a large number of people caught under the destroyed buildings, he added.
At the end of last year, neighboring nations, including Thailand, Sri Lanka and India, which lost hundreds of thousands of people from the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and the deadly tsunami, issued warnings right after yesterdays earthquake struck and evacuated their coastal residents. But, this time, there were no massive waves.
Five Korean volunteer rescuers working in Banda Aceh and 100 Korean residents in Medan have been confirmed safe, said Cho Joong-pyo, a home-based ambassador in charge of overseas Koreans` affairs.