Indonesia quake kills 75, thousands trapped + Donating to Red Cross by Text Message.

By | September 30, 2009

Indonesia quake kills 75, thousands trapped + Donating to Red Cross by Text Message.

A powerful earthquake rocked western Indonesia Wednesday, trapping thousands under collapsed buildings — including two hospitals — and triggering landslides. At least 75 people were killed on Sumatra island and the death toll was expected to climb sharply.

The magnitude 7.6 quake struck at 5:15 p.m. local time (1015GMT, 6:15 a.m. EDT), just off the coast of Padang city the U.S. Geological Survey said. It was along the same fault line that spawned the massive 2004 Asian tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

A tsunami warning for countries along the Indian Ocean was issued, and panicked residents fled to higher ground fearing giant waves. The warning was lifted about an hour later.

When the quake struck, the ground was shaking so hard that people sat down on the streets to avoid falling over, footage shot in Padang and broadcast by local TVOne network showed.

Children screamed as residents tried to put out fires started in the quake. Thousands fled the coast in cars and motorbikes, honking horns.

Initial reports received by the government said 75 people were killed, but the real number is “definitely higher than that,” Vice President Jusuf Kalla told reporters in the capital, Jakarta.

“It’s hard to tell because there is heavy rain and a blackout,” he said.

Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari told MetroTV that a mall and two hospitals had collapsed in Padang — a sprawling low-lying city in Western Sumatra province of around 900,000 people that geologists have warned could be vulnerable to a massive quake or tsunami.

“This is a high-scale disaster, more powerful than the earthquake in Yogyakarta in 2006 when more than 3,000 people died,” Supari said, referring to a major city on the main island of Java.

Rustam Pakaya, head of the Health Ministry’s crisis center, said “thousands of people are trapped under the collapsed houses.”

via Indonesia quake kills 75, thousands trapped – Yahoo! News.

Did you know you can donate to the Red Cross with a text message? I haven’t tried it, but here are the details:

TEXT 2HELP

The national Text 2HELP Initiative is a partnership between the American Red Cross and The Wireless Foundation that allows customers of participating wireless carriers to send a text message to the Red Cross and make a donation to support the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. This Fund enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, cots, counseling and other assistance to victims of disasters.

Subscribers of participating wireless carriers can donate $5 to American Red Cross disaster relief efforts simply by text messaging the keyword “GIVE” to “2HELP” (24357). Donations will appear on customers’ monthly bills or be debited from a prepaid account balance. Standard text messaging rates apply. To opt-out, send “STOP” to 24357.

Participating Carriers:

Alltel
AT&T
Sprint-Nextel
T-Mobile
U.S. Cellular
Verizon Wireless

Text 2HELP Frequently Asked Questions

You can help people affected by disasters, like the recent earthquake and floods, by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Your gift enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to victims of all disasters. You may also call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or mail your donation, to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.

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