The tsunami alert was issued in Sri Lanka on 11th April 2012, after the 8.6 magnitude earthquake in Indonesia. The earthquake took place at 14.08 of local time off Indonesia, and its effect supposed to be reaching first East Sri Lanka by 16.10. local time, a Severe Tsunami warning was issued for people in Eastern and Southern Sri Lanka and people were advised to leave the beach area and move to safe places.
Tsunami warning system was put into use for the first time since its construction in the island. Media reported that the reaction of the people to the Tsunami warning was very satisfying. People were prompted to take all necessary precaution in case of a Tsunami.
With the Tsunami alert from the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, all electronic media had taken measure to warn the people of possible Tsunami on the coastal region. People were evacuated from the beach areas and foreign tourists were taken to safe places. Tens of thousands of people left their coastal homes and moved to higher ground. Security forces were helping the Disaster Management Center in the evacuation effort. Relief workers were on alert to carry out any relief activities while the government institutions such as Hospitals were prepared with the staff.
All the transport along the Colombo-Galle was stopped for three hours, due to the Tsunami threats. Trains were also stopped for a period of three hours since the railway track runs parallel to the coast. Electricity board was prepared to disconnect the electricity from the coastal region in the event of Tsunami in order to avert possible electrifying accidents.
The Tsunami warning was removed at around 18.30 Sri Lankan time, with the instruction from the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. The news was aired by the Disaster Management Center of Sri Lanka and people were advised to return to their homes.
The people of Sri Lanka were promptly reacted to the warning especially the people in the coastal areas of the country. The preparedness of the people in Sri Lanka for a possible tsunami was commended by the United Nations humanitarian arm.
The Tsunami in 2004 had cost more than 35,000 lives mainly due to the inadequate knowledge on how to survive in a Tsunami. There had been a number of awareness programs targeting especially the people in the maritime region in the past. Authorities said there was a huge support from the people with the evacuation along the coastal belt. People were voluntarily vacated their houses and properties and moved to predefined safer areas.
Even though the Tsunami warning issued to most of the south Indian Ocean countries the waves that were generated from the seismic movement had not generated devastating waves similar to 2004. According to the geologists, the plates were moved sideways this time rather than the upward and downward directions, which makes waves with huge force from the seabed. Effect of the seabed earthquake has affected some parts of Indonesia causing minor damage to the properties due to the tremor. The waves generated from the seabed seismic activity also hit the beaches off Indonesia but has not made sizable damage to the people or properties.