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Earthquake hits Indonesia's Sumatra island

| 01.10,09. 05:55 AM |

 

Earthquake hits Indonesia's Sumatra island 


 
Dozens have been killed and thousands are trapped under rubble after a major quake hit Indonesia, with hotels and hospitals flattened and communications and power cut off

 
Thousands are trapped underneath rubble after a major earthquake hit Indonesia's Sumatra island, with hotels and hospitals flattened

 
The 7.6-magnitude quake struck off Sumatra's west coast at about 5pm (8pm AEST), 47km northwest of Padang / Reuters
 
Earthquake survivors receive medical treatment at a hospital in Padang Panjang / AP


AT least 75 people have been killed and thousands are trapped, feared dead, underneath rubble after a major earthquake hit Indonesia's Sumatra island last night.

Large buildings including hospitals and hotels caved in, homes fell down and fires raged in the coastal city of Padang, home to nearly a million people, as communications and power remained cut hours after the 7.6-magnitude quake.

"Houses and buildings have collapsed, causing thousands of people to be trapped inside in the rubble,'' Health Ministry crisis centre head Rustam Pakaya said, adding that a major city hospital was among the destroyed buildings.

Rescue teams and doctors had been sent overland and were expected to arrive in the city in about 10 hours, Mr Pakaya said.

Confirming the death toll, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said there were grave concerns for thousands trapped under buckled buildings.

"The initial level is 75 but it's certain to be higher than that,'' Mr Kalla said.

Local media reported that panicked residents rushed from their homes during the quake, which struck off Sumatra's west coast at 5pm (8pm AEST), 47km northwest of Padang.

"A number of hotels in Padang have been destroyed,'' Indonesian tsunami warning head Rahmat Triyono said, adding the agency did not release a tsunami alert.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii however issued a tsunami watch for Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Thailand, but later cancelled it.

"Up to now we haven't been able to reach Padang, communications have been cut,'' Mr Triyono said.

The quake was felt in the capital Jakarta, 940km away, and sent frightened office workers streaming out of buildings in nearby Singapore and the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

Reuters



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