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Earthquakes Create Chaos In Indonesia, Samoas

“Thousands of people on Wednesday grappled with the devastation caused by two powerful earthquakes, with landslides leaving scores trapped in rubble in Indonesia and a tsunami in the Samoas flattening villages and sweeping some residents out to sea,” the Washington Post reports.

Indonesia’s Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari described the event as “a high-scale disaster” (10/1). The health minister said the number of dead “could be more (than hundreds or thousands). I think it’s more than thousands, if we look at how widespread the damage is … but we don’t really know yet,” Reuters/New York Times reports (9/30).

According to the Associated Press, the earthquake damaged more than 500 buildings including hospitals, schools and other infrastructure in the city of Padang. “Padang’s main hospital, the state-run Djamil Hospital, was overwhelmed by the influx of victims and families. Dozens of injured people were being treated under tents outside the hospital, which was itself partly damaged,” the news service writes (Firdaus, 10/1).

Padang’s mayor said the city is overwhelmed and appealed for assistance, VOA News reports, adding that aid organizations have started arriving on the scene. “World Vision spokeswoman Laura Blank says its team has arrived and is now assessing the needs.” She said, “The challenge right now is that our emergency pre-positioned supplies were running quite low because the response in West Java was in progress still and that quake had just happened a few weeks ago.” According to VOA News, “Indonesia’s government dispatched medical teams and military planes to help with the relief efforts and announced $10 million in emergency response aid” (Padden, 10/1).

The Guardian examines how different organizations are responding to the disasters. “The British Red Cross has made a joint Asia-Pacific disaster appeal for help across the region … UNICEF said it had begun an appeal over Typhoon Ketsana, but another appeal for yesterday’s disasters was ‘most likely,’” the newspaper reports (Addley, 9/30).