AUSTRALIA’S response to the devastating Sumatran earthquakes went into full swing yesterday as embassy officials continued their search for up to 40 missing Australians.An Australian search and rescue team worked through Padang and the surrounding areas, including Pariaman, the worst affected district, to assess the damage and rescue needs.Officials have identified more than 2000 sites that need to be assessed. Japanese, British, Swiss and Singaporean search and rescue teams were also on the ground.Australian aid – including medical kits, basic goods, blankets and tents – was passed to the Indonesian Red Cross for distribution to survivors.Aid had also arrived from 13 other countries, but was yet to reach some of the worst affected areas.Australian Defence Force personnel were also on the ground to assist.The 7.6-magnitude quake toppled buildings and is believed to have killed more than 1100 people in Padang, home to nearly 1 million people on the coast of Sumatra on Wednesday. A second less powerful quake struck inland on Thursday.Several thousands people remain trapped in rubble, the United Nations and Red Cross believe.Hopes of finding people alive continued to fade as the stench of rotting corpses permeated the city.All 13 Australians registered as being in Padang at the time of the quake have been found safe.However, up to 40 Australians believed to be in Sumatra were still unaccounted for, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.Embassy officials continued to scour hospitals in and around Padang to find Australians who may have been killed or injured.”The good news is the Australians who we knew were in the Padang area at the time of the earthquake have now all been accounted for,” Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said.Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla toured the area yesterday, his entourage aggravating traffic chaos caused by blocked and damaged roads.Meanwhile, HMAS Kanimbla sailed from Sydney Harbour bound for the area. It is expected to reach Sumatra in about 10 days.Commodore Ian Middleton, the navy’s surface forces commander, said Kanimbla would provide Australia’s long-term back-up to the area.”The Air Force got in there with the immediate response,” he said.”What the Kanimbla is providing is the back-up longer term to clean up, and reconstruct if necessary.”
Nanjing Night Net

Author

admin