Published on Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Indonesia quake rekindles Asia nightmare

Evacuation warnings were issued in parts of Indonesia after another earthquake rocked the region yesterday.

Fearing a terrifying repetition of the tsunami three months ago, which claimed the lives of an estimated 300,000 people, local authorities issued evacuation warnings, but according to reports the threat of a tsunami resulting from the quake is considered to be over.

Initial reports said the quake, which measured 8.7 on the Richter scale, has caused extensive damage to buildings and may have killed several hundred people on the Indonesian island of Nias, famous as a surfing resort.

Sky News reported the death toll on the island could be as high as 2,000. The governments of Sri Lanka and Thailand also sent out tsunami warnings and urged people to move to higher ground.

The quake will come as a blow to the travel trade in the region, as efforts by tourism chiefs and tour operators in recent weeks has begun to rebuild confidence in the region after the devastating disaster on Boxing Day.

Tourists intending to travel to the Indonesian region are being advised to check with their tour operator before travelling.

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The recent insolvency of Low Cost Travel Group, one of the large players in the travel industry had a big impact on the travelers, hotels and all related players from both wholesale & retail arms. There were about 27,000 people on a holiday who had booked through the company comprised of a €200 million wholesale arm and €500 million OTA / retail arm.