Taipei, April 11 (CNA) The government is closely monitoring the situation in Indonesia after the island of Sumatra was hit by a massive earthquake Wednesday afternoon, an official said that day.
Premier Sean Chen has directed related ministries to keep a close eye on the situation in the Southeast Asian country and to provide help to Taiwanese nationals living there, government spokesman Philip Yang said.
The government will also provide assistance to Indonesia if necessary, he added.
The earthquake, which occurred in waters off Sumatra's Aceh Province, was rated by the U.S. Geological Survey at a magnitude of 8.6 on the open-ended Richter Scale.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said there had been no reports of Taiwanese casualties so far.
There were also no immediate reports of damage, the ministry said in a press statement released hours after the quake, which triggered tsunami alerts around the region.
Ad-hoc task forces have been assembled in various overseas representative offices to monitor the earthquake and possible tsunami, it went on.
Taiwanese nationals were urged to refrain from traveling to Indonesia and Thailand. The Thai authorities had already issued a tsunami forecast for Phuket Island that evening, the ministry added.
Those living in Indonesia and Thailand should stay vigilant and keep an eye on local media reports. Emergency assistance will be available at Taiwan's representative offices in the two countries, it said.
(By Nancy Liu and Elaine Hou)