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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Indonesia hit by 2nd quake, toll tops 1,100

Padang (Indonesia): A second powerful earthquake rocked western Indonesia on Thursday as rescuers struggled to reach survivors of the previous day's quake, which killed more than 1,100 people and left thousands trapped under collapsed buildings. 

    The death toll from Wednesday's 7.6-magnitude earthquake off Sumatra island was expected to rise as rescuers dig through the rubble, sometimes by hand, in heavily populated cities. The latest, 6.8-magnitude quake damaged hundreds of additional buildings, and communications remained cut in some areas. 
    "Let's not underestimate (the disaster). Let's be prepared for the worst. We will do everything we can to help the victims," President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in Jakarta before flying to Padang. 
    John Holmes, the UN humanitarian chief, told a press briefing in New York that at least 1,100 were killed in Wednesday's quake. 
    The Indonesian social affairs ministry's crisis centre said that more than 376 deaths occurred in Padang, a coastal city of 900,000 and capital of West Sumatra province. The rest were in four surrounding districts. Thousands were believed trapped, said Rustam Pakaya, head of the health ministry's crisis centre. 

    Padang became the immediate focus of rescue efforts. At least 500 buildings in the city collapsed or were badly damaged in Wednesday evening's quake, which also set off fires. Terrified residents who spent a restless night, many sleeping outdoors, were jolted by the new quake Thursday morning. The US Geological Survey said the quake hit about 240 kilometres south of Padang. It damaged 1,100 buildings, including mosques and homes, in Jambi. 
    Parents of missing students stayed up all night, 
waiting for signs of life. 
    "My daughter's face keeps appearing in my eyes ... my mind. I cannot sleep, I'm waiting here to see her again," a woman who identified herself only as Imelda. She said her 12-year-old daughter Yolanda was in the school for science lessons. "She is a good daughter and very smart. I really love her. Please, God help her," she said. AGENCIES 

Pacific tsunami deaths cross 150 
Apia (Samoa): Samoans searched flattened homes and debris-filled swamps on Thursday as more military ships and planes began arriving on the disaster-stricken Pacific islands after an earthquake and tsunami that killed at least 150 people. The day after the disaster struck, officials were expecting the death toll to rise as more areas were searched—a process that could take several weeks. AP

Rescuers remove the body of a girl from the rubble of a collapsed building in Padang


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