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The BBC's Linda Duffin
"The shattered infrastructure is making it difficult to get aid through"
 real 28k

The BBC's Richard Galpin in Sumatra
"We saw enormous amounts of destruction"
 real 28k

Herman Bergsma, Head of the Red Cross Jakarta
"Supplies are running short"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 6 June, 2000, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
Sumatra quake toll rising
A woman cries in front of her house in Manna
Hundreds of buildings were flattened
Indonesian rescuers are frantically searching for survivors of a a powerful earthquake which has killed more than 100 people on Sumatra island.

Bad weather and broken communications are hampering the relief effort, and the death toll is expected to rise.


Collapsed house
Thousands have been left homeless

"We still expect the death toll to climb higher," Police Sergeant Edy Somes said.

"The quake caused several landslides in the south of the province, and it is tough for rescuers to reach that area because some roads have been blocked by tonnes of earth."

Police said half the dead had been found in the worst-hit area of Bengkulu province.

Thousands of residents in Bengkulu town spent the night outdoors as a number of aftershocks struck the island.


The BBC's Richard Galpin, reporting from the area, says many small houses have collapsed entirely, leaving just piles of bricks and smashed tiles.

Families have been picking through the rubble trying to salvage some of their belongings.

Many are still in a state of shock and terrified of further tremors.

On Enggano island, west of Sumatra, 90% of houses were flattened, officials said.

Appeal

The Indonesian authorities have appealed for international help, saying they urgently need medicines and tents.

Makeshift wards were set up outside Bengkulu's main hospital
Makeshift wards were set up outside Bengkulu's main hospital

Doctors in Bengkulu have been treating casualties in hospital car parks due to a shortage of beds and medical supplies.

The quake - which lasted several minutes - struck late on Sunday night when most people were asleep.

It measured 7.9 on the Richter scale and was felt as far as away as Jakarta and Singapore.

Surjadi Soedirja, co-ordinating minister for political and security affairs, called for international assistance.

Damage in Manna, Bengkulu
A mother tries to salvage her belongings

"Because the airport cannot be used, it is hampering the arrival of aid," he added. "So aid will be delivered by sea and land. Maybe we will use military helicopters to drop food."

The government has sent food relief to Enggano, North Bengkulu, South Bengkulu and Bengkulu itself.

The town of about 150,000 people lies some 100km (60 miles) east of the epicentre.

Fault lines

The quake, one of the strongest to hit Indonesia in recent years, was centred in the Indian Ocean off Sumatra's west coast, 33km (21 miles) below the Earth's surface.

Some of those affected by the quake have been e-mailing BBC News Online telling of their ordeals.

Florence from Singapore said: "The first tremor was the strongest and we could not really stand properly.

"We live in the tallest floor and are the worst affected. Downstairs, people dressed in their pyjamas were out on the streets, helpless and full of anxiety."


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See also:

06 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Sumatra quake
05 Jun 00 | Sci/Tech
Sumatra: Caught between two plates
04 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Quake kills 16 in Indonesia
30 Mar 00 | Sci/Tech
The Earth's Ring of Fire
30 Nov 98 | Asia-Pacific
Quake rocks Indonesian islands
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