Rescue workers are searching for scores of people feared trapped beneath the debris of collapsed buildings after Wednesday’s earthquake on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
Aid for the thousands of displaced survivors has started trickling in but rescue efforts are being hampered by power blackouts and a lack of heavy equipment to shift tonnes of fallen masonry. Officially the confirmed number of deaths is at 529 but that figure is certain to rise, possibly into the thousands. The UN says 1,100 people have died so far. A 7.6 magnitude quake struck close to the port city of Padang wrecking buildings including hospitals, schools and shopping centres. Rescuers and medical workers are struggling to cope with the extent of the destruction and the growing tally of victims. A two-storey clinic at Padang’s main hospital has collapsed. Patients from adjacent wards are being tended to in tents. Civic buildings deemed safe enough have been commandeered and put to use as shelters. The Red Cross has sent in more than 400 personnel including 50 doctors. Geologists have long predicted that Pedang, a city of 900,000 people, could one day be destroyed by an earthquake because of its location on a major fault line.