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Deadly 6.3 quake strikes Indonesia

Buildings collapse and hospitals overflow with patients. At least 10 people reportedly die.

March 06, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

JAKARTA, INDONESIA — A powerful earthquake flattened a number of buildings today in western Indonesia, killing at least 10 people and packing hospitals with scores of injured, officials and media reports said.

The magnitude 6.3 quake on the island of Sumatra was felt hundreds of miles away in Singapore, where some office buildings were evacuated, and in neighboring Malaysia.

Some reports put the number of dead as high as 34, but those figures had not been confirmed officially.

Gusmal, a Solok district official who like many Indonesians uses only one name, said the 10 fatalities included three people who were trapped inside a collapsed home that burst into flames.

The quake killed at least two young children and a teacher when a two-story building crashed onto a playground in the Sumatran town of Solok, and another woman died at a market, said police spokesman Supriadi.

Hospitals were overflowing with patients, many of them with broken bones and cuts. At least one hospital was evacuated, sending panicked doctors and nurses fleeing with startled patients limping behind.

Electricity and telephone services were disrupted.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the tremor struck about 20 miles below Solok, on Sumatra's western coast, shattering windows and toppling power lines. It was followed by several strong aftershocks.

"Everything in my house fell down ... a cabinet hit me," said Rahma Nurjana, who lives in the town of Padang. "My neighbor's house collapsed."

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