Strong earthquakes kill at least 70 in West Sumatra
By Bartolomeus Marsudiharjo, World Vision Indonesia
AT LEAST 70 people are reported dead and many others were injured after strong earthquakes hit West Sumatra province, 900 kilometres west of Jakarta, at 11 am local time, March 6.
The number of victims is likely to increase as rescuers continue to evacuate the victims. The injured victims are in hospitals in nearby towns and Padang, the capital of the province, to get medical treatment.
The epicentre of the first 5.8 magnitude quake was four kilometres below Malalo, around 17 kilometres south of Padang.
The quake destroyed hundreds of houses and buildings, collapsed electricity and telecommunication lines and damaged transportation infrastructures. A second 6.0 magnitude quake two hours later and a strong aftershock that same night added to the damage.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called on government officials in West Sumatra to mobilise all facilities to evacuate the victims. He also promised to send aid to the location.
Usman Fadli, World Vision Indonesia’s Humanitarian Emergency Affairs staff, flew to Padang on Wednesday morning to assess the situation and prepare possible aid for the victims.