Second Powerful Earthquake Hampers Rescue Efforts; SUMATRA

Article excerpt

Byline: Rashid Razaq

A SECOND earthquake hit Indonesia today hampering rescue efforts as it emerged thousands may have died in yesterday's quake.

The 6.8 magnitude quake struck on land at 8.52am local time (2.52am BST) today 140 miles south-east of the coastal city of Padang on the island of Sumatra.

Rescue workers struggled in heavy rain to find people trapped under debris after a 7.6 magnitude quake hit under the sea to the north-west of Padang yesterday, toppling buildings and bringing devastation. The official death toll has reached 467 from the first quake, but ministers warned thousands more are feared to have died.

Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said: "I think it's more than thousands, if we look at how widespread the damage is."

Hundreds of buildings, including hospitals and schools, have been destroyed while at least 500 homes have been reduced to rubble. Communications have also been made difficult in the port city of 900,000 people by the toppling of telephone lines.

Australian businesswoman Jane Liddon told Australian radio from Padang that the city centre had been devastated. She said: "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 centre in the big buildings."

Television footage showed piles of debris, collapsed houses and multistorey buildings, with scores of crushed cars, after the earthquake. …


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