Thousands More - No So Lucky
Friday October 2 - Padang, Indonesia - A 7.6 Magnitude Quake Devastated Western Indonesia Leaving Thousands Missing or Dead.
But a few were lucky to survive.
After nearly two days under the collapsed college building caused by a huge earthquake, resucers found reason to cheer as two women were pulled out from the ruble. One of the survivors gave the "high-five" to her rescuers while being carried to safety.
Ratna Kurniasari Virgo, 19, an English major sophomore, and a teacher, Susi Revika Wulan Sari, were found alive under the rubble of ...
..their college in Padang, the Foreign Language School of Prayoga.
Sari was extricated at 5:20 p.m. (1020 GMT, 6:20 a.m. EDT), almost exactly 48 hours after the college crumbled in the 5.15 p.m. quake on Wednesday. She spent the time pinned down by the rubble among dead bodies of her students. On Friday, she beamed and slapped the hands of the rescue workers as they carried her away.
"She was conscious. Only her legs and fingers are swollen because she was squeezed," said the institute's director, Teresia Lianawaty. "Thanks to Allah! It is a miracle."
Earlier Friday, Virgo was yanked out, also conscious, after a 40-hour ordeal of being trapped in the rubble.
With excited shouts and giving words of encouragement to each other, rescuers pulled Virgo hands-first from a hole drilled in the debris. Her olive-colored T-shirt almost spotless, Virgo was laid on a stretcher before being taken to hospital to be treated for a broken leg.
"She is fine, conscious and does not have any life-threatening injuries," said Nining Rosanti, a nurse, at the hospital.
Cries for help from one flattened hotel caused a frantic search for more survivors Friday.
Elsewhere in the city, at the site of the former Ambacang Hotel where as many as 100 were feared trapped, rescue workers detected signs of life under a hill of tangled steel, concrete slabs and broken bricks of the three-story structure, said Gagah Prakosa, a spokesman of the rescue team.
"We heard some voices of people under the rubble, but as you can see the damage is making it very difficult to extricate them," Prakosa said, as a backhoe cleared the debris noisily.
The voices were heard 44 hours after the disaster, giving hope that many lives could still be saved.
But as the first foreign relief teams made their way to the scene, Indonesian officials said a lack of heavy digging equipment was hampering the search.
"Heavy equipment and rescuers are our priority," said spokesman Priyadi Kardono of the Health Ministry's national disaster management agency.
Kardono said Friday that 715 people have been confirmed dead and 2,400 hospitalized. U.N. spokeswoman Laksmita Noviera in Jakarta said the United Nations fears the toll could rise to 1,100.
That appeared a conservative estimate. Kardono said nearly 3,000 people may still be trapped under rubble. It is the first confirmed government figure for the missing, suggesting that the final death toll could be in the thousands.
The damage from the undersea quake was believed most extensive around Padang, a coastal town of 900,000 people and the capital of heavily populated West Sumatra province.
But about 50 miles (80 kilometers) to the north, in the rural, hilly district of Pariaman, which is home to about 370,000 people, an Associated Press reporter saw virtually no buildings still standing. The region was largely cut off and had received no outside help, leaving many to clear roads of landslides and dig out bodies using shovels and bare hands.
Officials said more than 10,000 homes and buildings had been destroyed there. It was unclear how many had died.
At a makeshift center for the homeless, dozens sheltered from the burning sun under a 15-by-30 foot (5-by-10 meter) canopy donated by a local business.
"It's too crowded here at night. We need more space and we need more shelter," said resident Ahmad Razali. "I'm worried about looters. They are out there and the police are too busy to do anything. We haven't gotten any help from the government yet."
Medical teams, search dogs, backhoes and emergency supplies, some of it given by other countries, were flown intoon Friday after Indonesia issued an appeal for international help.
"Please be patient," Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told the crowd of people whose relatives are missing, assuring them that the government was doing everything in its power to save lives.
But death was pervasive as bodies began decomposing in the tropical heat.
Paramedics laid out dozens of corpses at the Dr. M. Djamil General Hospital, Padang's biggest, which also was partly damaged in the quake. The air was filled with the wail of ambulance sirens.
Anwari, who uses only one name, burst into tears when asked who he was waiting for outside the hospital.
"Don't ask me about my daughter ... She is still missing," Anwari said, between sobs. "Please don't ask me ... it reminds me of her." He was too distraught to say anything more.
With communications and power supplies still down in many areas, fuel was being rationed to focus on locating the missing.
Up to 3,000 may still be trapped under the rubble after Wednesday's 7.6-magnitude quake toppled thousands of buildings on Sumatra island. At least 715 people are already confirmed dead. Paramedics laid out dozens of corpses, and the stench of decomposing bodies filled the air.
Some victims have yet to receive help. In a district north of the hard-hit city of, stricken residents said they'd seen no rescue workers. Most structures there had been leveled, and people were using shovels and their bare hands to clear landslides and dig out bodies.
Twenty-eight tons of supplies, including water, medicine and basic food provisions, were flown into regional airports to be distributed to the needy. Aid workers handed tents to some of the tens of thousands of people made homeless, disaster management spokesman Kardono said.
Russia sent two planeloads of supplies, along with doctors and nurses to treat the seriously injured.
Also donating millions of dollars in aid and financial assistance were governments and charities of Australia, Britain, China, Germany, Japan, the , Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Denmark and the United States, Indonesian officials said.
President Barack Obama, who spent part of his childhood in , pledged to support earthquake recovery efforts there, as well as provide assistance to the South Pacific countries of and , which were hit by a deadly tsunami Tuesday. The United States pledged $3.3 million in immediate assistance to Indonesia.
Indonesia sits on a major geological fault zone and experiences dozens of quakes every year. Wednesday's quake originated on the same fault line that spawned the 2004 Asian tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen nations.
It was the deadliest since May 2006, when more than 3,000 people died in the city of Yogyakarta.
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said the government has allocated $25 million for a two-month emergency response. She said the earthquake will seriously affect Indonesia's economic growth, because West Sumatra is a main producer of crude palm oil.