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Thousands Likely Dead In Indonesian Quake

Indonesia said it feared thousands had died in an enormous earthquake as exhausted rescue workers clawed through mountains of rubble with their bare hands in a race to find survivors.  The first flights laden with

PTI [ Updated: October 01, 2009 3:27 IST ]
thousands likely dead in indonesian quake
thousands likely dead in indonesian quake

Indonesia said it feared thousands had died in an enormous earthquake as exhausted rescue workers clawed through mountains of rubble with their bare hands in a race to find survivors. 

The first flights laden with food, medicine and body bags began arriving in the devastated region on Sumatra island as another powerful quake struck further south, causing more injuries and sparking panic. 

Wednesday  afternoon's 7.6-magnitude quake toppled buildings and led to fires in Padang city, home to nearly a million people on the coast of Sumatra, which was left largely without power and communications.

The official death toll hit 529 with 105 seriously injured, but those numbers are expected to soar as the full scale of the tragedy unfolds. Many districts remain closed to emergency services. 

"Our prediction is that thousands have died," health ministry crisis centre head Rustam Pakaya said. 

Rescue teams from the Indonesian army and health ministry descended on the city and surrounding towns to hunt for survivors in the twisted wreckage of collapsed buildings and homes, with work expected to go on into the night. 

In pouring rain that hampered rescue work early in the day, overwhelmed police and soldiers clawed through the tangled remains of schools, hotels and the city's main M Djamil hospital. PTI 

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