New earthquake. Aid arrives in a devastated Padang
by Mathias Hariyadi
Electricity and kerosene are lacking. The largest buildings in the city have all collapsed. The roads are flooded or destroyed, bridges collapsed. Trucks to dig among the ruins are needed, where thousands of victims are believed buried. The airport is reopened and two Hercules planes arrive with rice, medicines and basic necessities.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A strong earthquake of magnitude 7 on the Richter scale was recorded this morning on the island of Sumatra, south of the area hit yesterday by a 7.6 magnitude quake, which probably killed thousands of people.

Padang, the capital of West Sumatra, spent the night in devastation and total darkness, although some fires caused by the collapse of buildings still burned. There is no electricity and stocks of kerosene and water are lacking. The price of fuel has risen to four times the normal rate, up to 10 million rupees per litre. Bridges and several roads have been destroyed and some roads are still flooded.

All of the major buildings in the city have collapsed such as hospitals, banks, supermarkets, shopping centres, the Islamic University and the University of Science and Technology.

The communications system of the airport is down and internet and mobile phones are not working.

Thousands of people are still trapped under the rubble and the means to lift heavy debris is lacking. Seismologist Rahmat Triyono, from government offices, said that the earthquake in Padang is not connected to the Samoa tsunami. "The earthquake in Sumatra - he said - is due to friction between the Eurasian and the Indo-Australian plates".

Civil protection and relief organizations and non-governmental organizations are arriving in Padang, thanks to the reopening of the airport, which has reported only minor damage.

Hercules planes took off from Jakarta to deploy tons of rice, medicines and basic necessities. Medical teams are also due to arrive today; the Indonesian navy is sending some ships to Padang.

The epicentre of yesterday’s strong quake is located about 57 km from Periaman, a district on the outskirts of Padang. The quake was felt even in the province of Jambi, Malaysia and Singapore.