6 Oct 2009

Quake-hit Padang sprayed to stop disease

10:11 pm on 6 October 2009

Health workers fanned out across Padang on Tuesday to douse the Indonesian city with disinfectant amid concerns about disease outbreaks six days after a deadly earthquake rattled Sumatra.

The rescue mission in Padang, a port city of 900,000, and in surrounding hills devastated by landslides has now turned to a huge relief effort to help thousands who have lost their homes.

The regional governor says rotting bodies are a big hazard to health now and experts were monitoring for cases of cholera and tetanus.

Search called off

Officials in Sumatra have called off the search for earthquake survivors.

The BBC reports the focus has turned to bringing aid and medical help to survivors in the city and surrounding areas.

At least 1000 people have died and another 3000 are still missing in the city. Few buildings in Padang are undamaged.

The Indonesian government and international aid agencies are now focusing on getting aid to communities outside Padang.

Many roads and bridges in the hills outside Padang have been destroyed by landslides, which have also buried a number of villages.

One provincial relief official said some villages would be left as mass graves.

The first earthquake occurred on Wednesday at 5.16pm local time (1016 GMT). It was magnitude 7.6. A second earthquake followed on Thursday at 8.52am local time. It was magnitude 6.8.