Earthquake Kills 134 on Sumatra, Hundreds Injured
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ A powerful earthquake shook the island of Sumatra today, burying sleeping residents in the rubble of their homes and demolishing buildings. At least 134 people were killed.
Another 500 people were seriously hurt, said Hotman Apik, a government spokesman.
The earthquake struck just after midnight (12:07 p.m. Tuesday EST). It had an initial Richter reading of 6.5, according to officials in Jakarta. The U.S. Geological Survey in Washington put its strength at 7.2.
″Most of the victims were sound asleep,″ Apik said. ″Some of the victims died without knowing what hit them.″
Believed to be hardest hit was the province of Lampung, on southeastern Sumatra, which is about 125 miles northwest of Jakarta.
Destruction from the quake and heavy rains made it difficult to contact Lampung. Roads have been churned up and phone lines cut by the quake.
A blackout plunged western Lampung into darkness soon after the tremor hit.
Many homes, mosques, government offices and police stations were demolished, Apik said. He had no further details on the scale of the destruction.
Within Lampung, the devastation was believed greatest in the district of Liwa and the sub-district of Sekincau, which has a population of 50,000 people.
The quake, the first in Lampung in 20 years, was felt throughout south Sumatra, and the tremors were noticed as far away as Jakarta, the weather bureau reported.
In December 1992, an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 killed at least 2,500 people and destroyed thousands of buildings and houses on Flores Island, 950 miles southeast of Jakarta.
Meanwhile, unrelated floods have forced at least 1,500 people to flee their villages on the island of Java.
Sutardja, the regent of the Sumedang area on west Java about 281 miles southeast of Jakarta, said today the floods caused by heavy rain have destroyed at least 160 houses.