Second quake hits West Papua

TIME TO REST: An injured baby sleeping in a makeshift hospital at Nabire in Indonesia's Papua province. - APpic

NABIRE (Indonesia): A powerful earthquake shook Indonesia's West Papua yesterday, hampering rescue efforts a day after a major temblor in the region killed at least 34 people and injured hundreds. 

The earthquake on Friday devastated the town of Nabire in Indonesia's Papua province. But officials in Jakarta said yesterday that they did not expect the death toll to rise further. 

The US Geological Survey gave a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 for yesterday's quake, which occurred near Nabire, while Geoscience Australia said it was magnitude 7.2. 

Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics agency, however, recorded the aftershock at 6.2. Seismologists said they believed the discrepancy in magnitudes was due to differences in the calibration of equipment and methods used. 

“The event was shallow, occurring within the earth's crust and would have been felt over a wide area and caused further damage to yesterday's event,'' Geoscience Australia said in a statement. 

Survivors in Nabire gave harrowing accounts of Friday's quake, which measured magnitude 6.9. 

Itje Wanaha, a nurse at the local hospital, said a total of 34 people had died including a mother and her two-year-old child, who were crushed under a cupboard and piles of rubble. 

“Everything crashed on the floor. I ran out praying for my life. The land shook as if it was the sea with huge waves,'' said Wanaha, whose leg was injured by falling furniture. 

Yesterday, residents of Nabire, a town of 26,000 people, cleared their houses. – AP  

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