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    Posted October 1, 2009 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Strong earthquakes in South Pacific

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    Thousands Feared Dead After Indonesia Quake......


    By John Nedy and Sunanda Creagh PADANG, Indonesia (Reuters) - Rescue teams struggled on Thursday to reach scores of people trapped under debris and survivors pleaded for aid after a powerful quake hit the Indonesian city of Padang, possibly killing thousands. The 7.6 magnitude quake struck the bustling port city of 900,000 people on Wednesday, toppling hundreds of buildings. Telephone connections were patchy, making it hard for officials to work out the extent of destruction and loss of life. "I have been through quakes here before and this was the worst. There is blood everywhere, people with their limbs cut off. We saw buildings collapsed, people dying," said American Greg Hunt, 38, who was at Padang airport. A Reuters reporter in the city said rescuers were pulling people from buildings, but there was little sign of much aid being distributed yet. Fuel was also in short supply and there was a report of looting, while some shops had run out of food. Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari told reporters at an airport in Jakarta before leaving for Padang that the number of dead could be numbered in the thousands, given the widespread damage. A worker compiling disaster data at the social ministry put the number killed of confirmed deaths at 529. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who arrived back from the G20 meeting on Thursday, told reporters the country could coordinate the relief efforts but welcomed help from abroad. Australia, South Korea and Japan were among nations offering aid or help. Two Indonesian Hercules transport planes carrying medical aid, as well as 20,000 tents and 10,000 blankets, also flew to Padang on Thursday, the state Antara news agency reported. A 6.6 magnitude quake hit another part of Sumatra island on Thursday, causing fresh panic but no reported deaths. The second quake's epicenter was about 225 km (140 miles) southeast of Padang, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Elshinta radio reported that 12 people were hurt in the town of Jambi and 60 houses damaged. HOSPITAL DAMAGED A two storey clinic at Padang's main hospital collapsed but was empty at the time after closing a few hours before the quake. Patients from adjacent wards were evacuated to nearby tents, while a makeshift morgue was also setup in the open air with lines of corpses placed in yellow body bags. One distraught man collapsed after identifying his daughter as one of the victims.


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