Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quakes - West Sumatera




September 30, 2009 21:44 PM

Padang In Darkness, Malaysian Students Gather At Andalas University

JAKARTA, Sept 30 (Bernama) -- The earthquake at 7.6 on the Richter Scale (RS) that shook West Sumatra, especially its provincial capital, Padang, at 5.16pm Wednesday caused panic among residents, with many rushing out of their homes and other buildings to save themselves.

According to the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG), the earthquake epicentre was at Km57 north-west of Pariaman, a coastal city in West Sumatra, and 71km below the sea.

This was followed by the second quake at 6.2 on the RS at 5.38pm centred at Km22 north-west of Pariaman and 22km below the sea.

However, so far there has been no official report on injuries sustained or loss of lives from the Indonesian authorities following the earthquakes.

Director of the Malaysian Students Department in Indonesia, Dr Junaidi Abu Bakar, told Bernama that all 330 Malaysian students whose homes had collapsed, were damaged or had caught fire, were now gathered at the Universitas Andalas campus, in adherence to the standard procedure in times of disaster.

"Although the university's Medical Faculty building was also reported to have collapsed, we have asked the Malaysian students to gather nearby to facilitate monitoring of each other's safety. We are in direct communication with them," he said.

Local television stations reported that several tall buildings, including a hotel, and thousands of houses had collapsed or were damaged as a result of the the first and second earthquakes.

Electricity supply has been disrupted while telecommunication lines have been damaged, throwing Padang into darkness.

Television reports have also expressed fear over the possibility of hundreds of people being trapped in the collapsed buildings or buried under the rubble, while those who managed to run to safety still gather along roadsides and dare not return to their homes yet.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre was quoted by local online media as saying that the tsunami warning for Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and India had been withdrawn, following an hour's observation where there had been no major change in the seawave condition.

However, Indonesia's BMKG did not issue a similar warning.

-- BERNAMA

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