Friday, September 14, 2007

Indonesian quake toll and update

Amazingly, the earthquakes that have battered Indonesia since Wednesday have claimed only 13 lives so far. From AFP/Google:
"The total number of dead is now at 13 with 50 others injured," Rustam Pakaya, who heads the health ministry's crisis center, said in a text message alert.

Two fatalities were recorded in each of the cities of Bengkulu and Padang, while four were killed in Bengkulu province's Mukomuko, three in North Bengkulu district and two in West Sumatra's Pesisir Selatan.

An official from Bengkulu province's disaster coordination centre cautioned that no details were yet confirmed on the deaths in Mukomuko.
The first quake, an 8.4 magnitude one, did unleash a 10 feet tsunami but this time the people in Indonesia got lucky thanks to a quirk of nature that sent the full force of the tsunami out to sea. From Yahoo News:
But the huge mass of water spawned by the initial 8.4-magnitude quake was pushed to sea rather than land, said Mike Turnbull, a seismologist at Australia's Central Queensland University.

"It could have quite easily have been the other way," he said, noting that pressure between the shifting Australian-Indian and Asian plates has been building up over hundreds of thousands of years and was ready to explode. "It's a quirk of nature that this is how it happened."

Although the 10-foot-high tsunami slammed into at least one fishing village on Sumatra on Wednesday, damage overall was "minimal," Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said after the Air Force conducted an aerial survey.
Aftershocks are still occurring. A 5.5 magnitude earthquake has just rocked Sumatra again at 12.03pm Singapore time. According to the USGS website, the region has been rocked more than 30 times since the 8.4 magnitude earthquake on Wednesday evening.

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