Nine Killed, Five Missing As Indonesia’s Strong Quake Causes Massive Damage

Rescuers found nine bodies under the rubbles, and are trying to find five other people, believed to be buried under the debris of houses, after a 6.1-magnitude quake destroyed thousands of buildings in Indonesia’s West Sumatra province on Friday, an official said yesterday.

Octavianto, head of the Operation Unit of the Search and Rescue Office of West Sumatra province, said that, all the nine bodies were found in Pasaman and Pasaman Barat districts, which are the hardest hit by the earthquake.

“The focus of our efforts yesterday was to find the other five people reported missing in Malampah village, Pasaman district,” he said.

The quake triggered landslides in an area of 17 square km in Tigo Nagari sub-district, destroyed soil and buried houses, Octavianto said.

As many as 50 rescuers with heavy machinery are searching for the missing persons in the scene now.

Telecommunications and electricity facilities have returned to normal, after being cut off and blackout occurred on Friday, according to him.

Jumaidi, head of the Operation Unit of the Disaster Management and Mitigation Agency of West Sumatra province, said, thousands of affected people took shelters at dozens of evacuation centres, and set up tents outside their damaged houses in Pasaman and Pasaman Barat districts.

“Their houses have been damaged, so they cannot stay there. Besides, it is as a precaution to avoid the impacts of further aftershocks,” he said.

Local authorities, including the disaster agency officials, the Red Cross, soldiers, policemen and others, have been involved in the emergency relief efforts, according to him. Health clinics have been set up in several places to help the wounded people and evacuees.

“Most of the quake victims suffer wounds or broken bones, as they were hit by concrete or other materials during the quake,” he said, adding that, emergency relief aids are heading to the scene.