Indonesian quake kills 200, dozens trapped under rubble

Indonesian quake kills 200, dozens trapped under rubble Jakarta  - At least 200 people were killed and dozens others were still trapped under collapsed buildings one day after a powerful earthquake struck Indonesia's West Sumatra province, officials said Thursday.

"The death toll may increase because there are many people still trapped in buildings, shops and hotels," said Priyadi Handoko from the National Agency for Disaster Management in the capital Jakarta.

"We have received reports that up to 200 people were killed in the quake in West Sumatra," Handoko said, adding that at least 500 buildings were destroyed in the quake.

Rustam Pakaya, head of the Health Ministry's disaster centre, said late Wednesday that hundreds of people were trapped under rubble in Padang and that a hospital had also collapsed.

The state-run Antara news agency reported that hundreds of people were believed to have been trapped in collapsed buildings and shops in Padang's business district and Chinatown.

Pakaya said a medical team has been dispatched to West Sumatra, the region worst-hit by the quake, while a field hospital had been set up as hundreds of people were suffering serious injuries.

The quake, measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, struck off the western coast of Sumatra at 1016 GMT Wednesday. A 6.2 magnitude aftershock followed 22 minutes later.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," the edge of a tectonic plate prone to seismic upheaval.

A major earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck in December 2004, leaving more than 170,000 people dead or missing in Indonesia's Aceh province and half a million people homeless.

Wednesday's quake occurred along the same fault line.

Geologists have said that Padang, the capital of West Sumatra, a low-lying city of 900,000 people, risks being swallowed by a tsunami in the event of an earthquake similar in magnitude to the one that triggered the 2004 giant wave. (dpa)