Earthquake hits India's southeast

Sunday, September 15, 2002

NEW DELHI, India -- A strong earthquake hit India's southeast early Saturday, killing at least two and damaging homes on the Andaman islands, officials said.

The epicenter of the magnitude-6 tremor was in the sea some 1,500 miles southeast of the Indian capital, said J.L. Gautam, an official at the New Delhi Meteorology Department. The first tremor was at 3:59 a.m. and was followed by several aftershocks.

Two people were killed when a wall collapsed in the Andaman Islands, and a jetty at Ariel Bay on Middle Andaman island was damaged, said Jaidev Sarangi, a New Delhi-based liaison officer for the islands.

The tremors, that lasted for about two minutes, set off a tidal wave and damaged several shops and houses near the jetty, according to shipping officials in the southern coastal city of Madras.

The region, a string of more than 300 forested tropical islands with a population of more than 340,000 people, is highly prone to earthquakes.

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