At least 220 people have been killed in the earthquake that struck the city of Padang and surrounding areas on Indonesia’s Sumatra island according to the national disaster agency.
The Indonesian health minister has said the death toll is expected to rise into the thousands with many victims buried under rubble. The quake with a 7.6 magnitude hit Padang on wednesday afternoon knocking over hundreds of buildings. About 500 houses have collapsed. Heavy rain is hampering rescue efforts. A second quake with a magnitude of 6.8 hit another part of Sumatra on thursday causing fresh panic. The epicentre was 154 kilmotres north west of Bengkulu. The quake is the latest in a spate of natural disasters to hit the sprawling archipelago of Indonesia and its 226 million people. Indonesia’s west sumatra province sits on one of the world’s most active fault lines along “the ring of fire” where the Indo-australia plate grinds against the Eurasia plate, creating regular tremors. A 9.15 magnitude quake caused the 2004 Tsunami killing over 200 000 people.