Quake Leaves Padang Crippled

Overseas emergency rescue teams are putting in efforts to get to the areas in and around Indonesia’s port city Padang which was left devastated by a powerful earthquake on Wednesday. The undersea quake hitting the Indonesian Island of Sumatra originated only 50 kilometres from the city.

Media reports suggested that ambulances faced trouble getting through the traffic jams in Padang. Traffic lights were not working due to electricity being out. While police had closed off some streets where rescue teams were digging through the debris. Crowds of bystanders can be seen on the streets.

Many houses and offices in the city were damaged only structurally, while some large commercial buildings, hospitals, hotels, mosques and churches were completely destroyed.

A local middle school has been reduced to a pile of wreckage. Reports say that over 60 students died when the school building crashed down upon them. Indonesian Marine Lieutenant Alberto Nainggolan and his unit have been conducting rescue efforts at the school.

According to him, only one alive body was found today. Yesterday, 16 dead bodies were recovered.

In fact, rescue teams are racing against time, for soon their mission will change from rescuing survivors to recovering dead.

With electricity out, most local broadcasting has stopped. But not Padang television. While their building was damaged, network employees have moved their equipment outside and are using a generator for power.  Budi Syahrial is the news presenter.

He says that the building is damaged but the people need information.

Of course, most people in Padang cannot watch the news because they do not have power. But Syahrial  says others outside the city can see and need to know the extent of the damage caused by the earthquake.

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