Hopes Fade for Finding Survivors in Indonesia's Sumatra Region

JAKARTA, Oct. 5 (UPI) — Chances of finding survivors under earthquake-triggered mudslides and structural ruins in Indonesia’s Sumatra region appeared slimmer Monday, officials said.

The 7.6 magnitude earthquake that hit Sumatra Wednesday, and a smaller one that followed Thursday, killed hundreds of people and trapped thousands of others, officials said. Padang, the provincial capital and a large port, was the worst hit but outlying areas also suffered heavy damage.

Estimates of the death toll have ranged from about 700 to more than 1,000. Another 3,000 are feared missing.

Aid workers told the BBC they were trying to reach the outlying areas but were being hampered by badly damaged roads.

“There is a road that is only 25km (15 miles) long outside Padang that usually takes 35 minutes to drive — it now takes 10 hours,” Oxfam worker Ian Bray in Padang told the BBC. “We’re facing huge logistical problems of trying to get to places which are really hit badly and those are the outlying areas.”

The state-run Antara news agency quoted officials as saying the death toll has continued to rise with the discovery more bodies from under the rubble of buildings. More than 280 people reportedly were buried in a mudslide in Padangpariaman region and their fate remained unknown Monday.

In the Patamuan sub district, authorities recovered the bodies of 28 people buried by another mudslide.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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