The Indonesian island of Sumatra has been hit by two strong earthquakes. The authorities say scores of people have been killed and the death toll looks set to rise. The West Sumatra provincial capital Padang felt the full force of the first shock which hit at 11 am local time and measured 6.3 on the Richter scale.
Two hours later a second quake struck. Those on the ground say there is a very real sense of panic among the residents of the seaside town who fear the quake could trigger a tsunami. However, there was no immediate tsunami warning. Police say hundreds of buildings have been destroyed and search and rescue teams have been deployed to comb the debris for survivors. Earthquakes are frequent in Indonesia its 17,000 islands sprawl along a belt of intense volcanic and seismic activity called the “Pacific Ring of Fire.”