Major earthquake strikes western Sumatra

Indonesia, September 30, 2009

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  <span class="field-credit">
    REUTERS/Supri, courtesy of www.alertnet.org  </span>
    On September 30, families in Indonesia were struck by the second major earthquake in a month. Photo: REUTERS/Supri, courtesy of www.alertnet.org

A powerful earthquake struck western Indonesia today, collapsing buildings and causing landslides in coastal areas, especially Padang — a city of 900,000 people. Preliminary reports from the most-affected areas place the death toll at 75, with possibly thousands of people trapped under rubble.

Mercy Corps is deploying an emergency team to Padang, the closest major city to the epicenter. As the scope of the disaster comes into better focus, we need your help to deliver assistance to the survivors of this latest tragedy to hit Indonesia.

The magnitude 7.6 earthquake, which hit the same fault line that spawned the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, was followed just a few minutes later by 6.2 magnitude earthquake. Power and communications lines are down, and road access to devastated areas is blocked by debris.

Mercy Corps’ response will include distribution of shelter items, other relief supplies and provision of clean water. Our team will also continue to assess the situation, alongside other responders and local authorities, to determine how we can help in other ways.

We've operated programs in Padang for the last several years, including disaster preparedness, infrastructure rebuilding and nutrition for mothers and children. This ongoing work places us in a unique position to mount an effective, widespread response to a variety of critical needs.

We will keep you updated as the situation comes into better focus.