The ocean is both a blessing and a curse to the idyllic coastal district of Banda Aceh. While the seaside town is picturesque, the danger of disaster is very real as the memory of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami remains fresh.

However, the incident on April 11 was not like December 2004. Sirens wailed, warnings blared and police moved millions of people away from coastlines around the Indian Ocean as Wednesday's 8.6 magnitude earthquake off northern Indonesia sparked fears of another devastating tsunami. Damage was light - the quakes were horizontal rather than vertical - and the big waves never came, unlike eight years ago when walls of water roared across the same ocean and ploughed into seaside communities in 13 countries without warning. – Photos and text by Agencies

Officials of Banda Aceh prison examine the area where a wall collapsed the day after a powerful earthquake hit the west coast of Indonesia in Banda Aceh on April 12, 2012. ? Photo by AFP
Officials of Banda Aceh prison examine the area where a wall collapsed the day after a powerful earthquake hit the west coast of Indonesia in Banda Aceh on April 12, 2012. ? Photo by AFP
This picture taken in Banda Aceh on April 4 shows elementary school students attending an earthquake drill.  Acehnese students knew the drill by heart. When an earthquake hits, never panic and move to an open area or higher ground. So when the earth shook under their feet on April 11, teachers and students in Jeumpa Puteh senior high school coolly continued with their lessons, thinking it was the usual tremor they faced in the quake-prone Aceh province. ? Photo by AFP
This picture taken in Banda Aceh on April 4 shows elementary school students attending an earthquake drill. Acehnese students knew the drill by heart. When an earthquake hits, never panic and move to an open area or higher ground. So when the earth shook under their feet on April 11, teachers and students in Jeumpa Puteh senior high school coolly continued with their lessons, thinking it was the usual tremor they faced in the quake-prone Aceh province. ? Photo by AFP
This picture taken in Banda Aceh on April 12 shows the Baiturrahim mosque that survived the 2004 Asian tsunami, located in the west coast of Sumatera in Banda Aceh. ? Photo by AFP
This picture taken in Banda Aceh on April 12 shows the Baiturrahim mosque that survived the 2004 Asian tsunami, located in the west coast of Sumatera in Banda Aceh. ? Photo by AFP
The ruins of a house damaged by the 2004 tsunami is pictured in Banda Aceh April 12, 2012. ? Photo by Reuters
The ruins of a house damaged by the 2004 tsunami is pictured in Banda Aceh April 12, 2012. ? Photo by Reuters
A street vendor carries drinks to a couple sitting beside a beach a day after earthquakes hit Banda Aceh, April 12, 2012. ? Photo by Reuters
A street vendor carries drinks to a couple sitting beside a beach a day after earthquakes hit Banda Aceh, April 12, 2012. ? Photo by Reuters
This picture taken in Banda Aceh on April 6, 2012 shows the Indonesian flag waving over the west coast of Sumatera in Banda Aceh. ? Photo by AFP
This picture taken in Banda Aceh on April 6, 2012 shows the Indonesian flag waving over the west coast of Sumatera in Banda Aceh. ? Photo by AFP
This picture taken in Banda Aceh on April 12 shows the general view of west coast of Sumatera in Banda Aceh. ? Photo by AFP
This picture taken in Banda Aceh on April 12 shows the general view of west coast of Sumatera in Banda Aceh. ? Photo by AFP
Acehnese fishermen clean their boats on Friday, a day of rest from fishing, in Banda Aceh on April 13, 2012, two days after powerful earthquakes hit the west coast of Sumatra.  The tsunami watch around the Indian Ocean was lifted hours after two massive earthquakes struck off Indonesia's Sumatra island on April 11, sending terrified people fleeing from the coast. ? Photo by AFP
Acehnese fishermen clean their boats on Friday, a day of rest from fishing, in Banda Aceh on April 13, 2012, two days after powerful earthquakes hit the west coast of Sumatra. The tsunami watch around the Indian Ocean was lifted hours after two massive earthquakes struck off Indonesia's Sumatra island on April 11, sending terrified people fleeing from the coast. ? Photo by AFP
An Acehnese fisherman cleans his boat on Friday, a day of rest from fishing, in Banda Aceh on April 13, 2012, two days after powerful earthquakes hit the west coast of Sumatra.  The tsunami watch around the Indian Ocean was lifted hours after two massive earthquakes struck off Indonesia's Sumatra island on April 11, sending terrified people fleeing from the coast. ? Photo by AFP
An Acehnese fisherman cleans his boat on Friday, a day of rest from fishing, in Banda Aceh on April 13, 2012, two days after powerful earthquakes hit the west coast of Sumatra. The tsunami watch around the Indian Ocean was lifted hours after two massive earthquakes struck off Indonesia's Sumatra island on April 11, sending terrified people fleeing from the coast. ? Photo by AFP
This picture taken in Banda Aceh on April 12 shows coastal villages in the west coast of Sumatera in Banda Aceh. ? Photo by AFP
This picture taken in Banda Aceh on April 12 shows coastal villages in the west coast of Sumatera in Banda Aceh. ? Photo by AFP

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