A huge earthquake off the coast of Indonesia has killed hundreds, maybe thousands of people and then triggered tsunami alerts around the Indian Ocean. The quake, measuring 8.7 on the richter scale struck just before midnight and destroyed buildings on the Sumatra island of Nias. Thousands of people fled their homes in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka - areas which are still only starting to recover from the deadly tsunami in December. However tsunami alerts were scaled down three hours after the quake.
The region has been working hard to re-develop its tourism industry since the December disaster and this new quake will provide a huge set-back to the progress that has been made this year. A recent survey on post-tsunami travel intentions indicated that 9% of potential travellers surveyed will not consider Asian destinations in 2005 due to the December 26, 2004 quake and tsunami.