Rescue workers pulled victims, some screaming in pain, from the heavy rubble of buildings felled by a powerful earthquake that a government official said killed at least 777 people. The UN put the death toll at 1,100 and said it was likely to rise.
The brunt of Wednesday's 7.6-magnitude earthquake, which originated in the sea off Sumatra island, appeared to have been borne by the city of Padang, where a government official said most the deaths occurred.
The region was jolted by another powerful earthquake yesterday, causing damage but no reported fatalities.
More than 500 buildings including hotels, schools, hospitals and a mall were destroyed or damaged in Padang. Thousands of people were still believed to be trapped in the rubble, said Rustam Pakaya, head of the Health Ministry's crisis centre. Workers used backhoes to shift debris.
The government official told The Associated Press that at least 777 people are confirmed to have died in the quake, with about 300 seriously injured. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media. He said most of the dead were in Padang.
At the United Nations, UN humanitarian chief John Holmes said yesterday the latest figures "suggest the death toll has risen already to 1,100" and likely would go higher given the number of injured and those believed trapped in collapsed buildings. PTI