Deadly Quake Strikes Sumatra

March 6, 2007

Preliminary reports indicate that at least 70 people have been killed by a powerful earthquake that struck the Indonesian Island of Sumatra early this morning. Many more have been injured, and local authorities expect the death toll to rise.

The quake, which The US Geological Survey measured at a magnitude of 6.3, was followed by a strong aftershock, measuring 6.0. Many buildings near the epicenter in the town of Padang were destroyed.

News reports described scenes of panic, as people fled from structures, which they feared would collapse.

Rescue efforts have been hampered by damages to the local infrastructure, with electrical facilities knocked out and many roads in the area that have become impassable.

The region around Padang is situated south of the province of Aceh, where some 130,000 people died in the tsunamis of 2004.

There appears, however, to be no danger of seismic waves from this quake, as it happened on land rather than under the sea.

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