Indonesian Earthquake Kills Dozens, Traps Hundreds

Officials said at least 75 people died and thousands were trapped in rubble in the aftermath of a earthquake that hit Indonesia, officials said Wednesday.

The quake also caused widespread power and phone outages, making damage assessments difficult, CNN reported.

The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.6, the U.S. Geological Survey said, revising downward its initial magnitude estimate of 7.9.

The quake was centered about 33 miles from Padang, the capital of West Sumatra, and was about 53 miles deep, USGS said. The quake’s epicenter was about 140 miles southwest of Pekanbaru, Sumatra; 295 miles south-southwest of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and 600 miles northwest of Jakarta, Indonesia.

“The situation is quite devastating,” said Amelia Merrick, operations director for World Vision Indonesia. “Bridges have gone down, phone lines are in total disrepair; it’s difficult for us to assess the situation.”

Indonesia’s national disaster agency said the quake downed power and phone lines in Padang.

World Vision Indonesia said it would send assessment teams to the area Thursday morning.

Indonesia’s state-run Antara news agency cited Health Minister Rustam Pakaya as saying he received reports that part of a hospital had collapsed, burying people beneath the debris.

Indonesians trying to find out more about the quake turned to the Internet, including the social-networking Web site, Twitter, CNN reported. Some expressed concern for relatives and friends in hard-hit Padang.

“Dear God, please send down your angels to hug and protect my grandpa in Padang,” read one Twitter post.

The Web site for one of Indonesia’s main newspapers, The Jakarta Globe, crashed temporarily from the crush of people trying to learn more about the earthquake, CNN reported.

Categorized | Nature & Ecosystems, Other
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