Rescue efforts have reached fever pitch to find possible survivors of the powerful earthquake that hit western Indonesia on Wednesday. The provisional death toll is put at more than 1,100. But it’s expected to rise dramatically, possibly to more than 4,000.
Rescuers have been digging through the rubble of a three-story college where dozens of students were attending classes. It and many other buildings were shattered by the tremor. Many survivors were pulled out of the rubble on the first day after the quake. But time is running out for any others still trapped under collapsed buildings. The epicenter of the earthquake was the port city of Panang. However, the force of the tremor, with a magnitude of 7.6 was felt in neighboring Malaysia and Singapore. International aid to thousands of displaced survivors has started to arrive in the area. But rescue operations have been hampered by electricity blackouts. The lack of heavy eqipment has also proved a serious setback for efforts to remove broken masonry from devastated buildings. The city, with a population of 900,000 sits on top of one of the world’‘s most active seismic fault lines called the “Ring of Fire.”