Thursday, October 1, 2009

UPDATE: Another quake hits Sumatra

Source: The United Nations, Associated Press and Reuters

The U.S. Geological Survey says another powerful earthquake has shaken western Indonesia.

The 6.9 magnitude struck at 08:52 a.m. local time (0152GMT) Thursday on Sumatra island, about 180 miles (280 kilometers) from the epicenter of a more powerful quake on Wednesday.

Rescue efforts are under way around the area worst hit by Wednesday's quake, the regional capital of Padang on West Sumatra. At least 200 people died there and thousands are said to be trapped under collapsed buildings throughout the province.

There were no immediate reports of damage from Thursday's quake.

Devastating back-to-back earthquakes have rocked the Indonesian island of Sumatra today, killing at least 75 people and leaving thousands trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings, the United Nations humanitarian wing has reported.

A powerful 7.9-magnitude tremor, originating from the same fault-line that produced the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, struck near the city of Padang at 5:16 pm local time, and was followed by a quake measuring 6.2 about 22 minutes later.

Initial reports indicate significant damage to infrastructure and there have also been media reports of several fires in the affected areas along with temporary airport closures in Padang, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

At the beginning of the month a 7.3-magnitude quake hit the Tasikmalaya district of West Java, Indonesia, killing at least 64 people and uprooting another 25,000.

Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari told reporters at the airport that the number of victims "could be more (than hundreds or thousands). I think it's more than thousands, if we look at how widespread the damage is ... but we don't really know yet."

The national disaster agency earlier put the toll at between 100 and 200 in the city of 900,000. About 500 houses had collapsed, officials in the area said.

Australian businesswoman Jane Liddon told Australian radio from Padang said the city center was devastated.

"The big buildings are down. The concrete buildings are all down, the hospitals, the main markets, down and burned. A lot of people died in there. A lot of places are burning.

"Most of the damage is in the town center in the big buildings. The little houses, the people's houses, there are a few damaged, but nothing dramatic."


Indonesia and Samoa disasters 'unlikely' to be connected – The Mirror
Indonesia: West Sumatra Earthquake Situation Report No. 1 - Reliefweb
Gallery: Earthquake hits Sumatra – Courier Mail
Video: People trapped in rubble –
More News on Indonesian earthquake - Google