Relief effort gears up for Indonesia earthquake victims

By staff writers
October 1, 2009

The number of recorded victims of a powerful earthquake that struck the Indonesian island of Sumatra yesterday is increasing rapidly and now exceeds 500.

Ekklesia understands that international aid and development organisations are gearing up for action, including those gathered in Action of Churches Together (ACT).

Today rescuers are reported to have been struggling in heavy rain to find survivors in the rubble of destroyed buildings.

On 30 September 2009 the 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck close to the city of Padang, the capital of West Sumatra province in Indonesia.

Hundreds of buildings, including hospitals, schools and shopping malls, were brought down.

The quake also cut power lines, took out vital communications technology and triggered landslides.

"Our prediction is that thousands have died," Rustam Pakaya, head of the health ministry's disaster centre in Jakarta, told journalists this morning.

A second quake of 6.8 struck close to Padang at 8.52 am local time (1.52 GMT) today.

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