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2009 Sumatra earthquakes

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2009 Sumatra earthquakes

2009 Sumatra earthquakes
2009 Sumatra earthquakes is located in Sumatra Topography
2009 Sumatra earthquakes
Date September 30, 2009 (2009-09-30)
Origin time 10:16:10 UTC
Magnitude 7.9 Mw
Depth 87 kilometres (54 mi)
Areas affected Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore
Max. intensity VII (Very Strong)
Casualties 1,115 dead, 1,214 severely injured and 1,688 slightly injured [1]

The September 2009 Sumatra earthquake occurred on September 30 off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia with a moment magnitude of 7.9 at 17:16:10 local time.[2][3] The epicenter was 45 kilometres (28 mi) west-northwest of Padang, Sumatra, and 220 kilometres (140 mi) southwest of Pekanbaru, Sumatra. Government reports have to date confirmed 1,115 dead, 1,214 severely injured and 1,688 slightly injured.[1] The most deaths occurred in the areas of Padang Pariaman (675), Padang (313), Agam (80) and Pariaman (37).[1] In addition, around 135,000 houses were severely damaged, 65,000 houses were moderately damaged and 79,000 houses were slightly damaged.[1] An estimated 250,000 families (1,250,000 people) have been affected by the earthquake through the total or partial loss of their homes and livelihoods.[4]

Tectonic setting

The whole of Indonesia except Borneo, Bangka Belitung, Riau Islands and Timor is situated within a zone of high seismic activity known as the "Pacific Ring of Fire". Along the Sunda megathrust, the Indo-Australian Plate is being subducted beneath the Eurasian plate. The subduction creates regular earthquakes, many of them of megathrust type. Specifically the Sumatran segment is currently experiencing a period of increased activity that began with the catastrophic 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake. Each earthquake of the sequence adds additional stresses to segments of the plate boundary that have not moved recently.


Because of its depth and the computed focal mechanism, the first earthquake is thought to have resulted from deformation within the mantle of the descending Australian plate, rather than from movement on the plate boundary itself.[5] The second earthquake has been linked to dextral (right-lateral) movement on the Great Sumatran fault which takes up the strike-slip component of the convergence between the two plates.[6]

A destroyed house in Padang Pariaman District
The 6-story Ambacang Hotel after the 2009 Sumatra earthquake


Tremors from the first earthquakes were felt in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, Malaysia and Singapore.[7] The management of some high-rise buildings in Singapore evacuated their staff.[8]

A tsunami watch was triggered and there was reports of house damage and fires.[9] Hotels in Padang were destroyed, and communications to the city were disrupted.[10]

Local news channel Metro TV reported fires in Padang where residents had run onto the streets as the first quake hit. Teams of rescuers from nearby branches of the National Search and Rescue Agency have been deployed to Padang. Large buildings came down in the earthquake. It was also reported that some water pipes in Padang were broken and there was flooding in the street.[11] There have also been reports that at least two hospitals and several schools have collapsed as a result of the earthquake.[12]

The earthquake has also caused landslides. There were landslides and collateral debris flows in the hills surrounding Lake Maninjau. The landslide in Gunung Nan Tigo, Padang Pariaman district completely destroyed some villages and caused many fatalities. Landslides also forced some roads to be closed.[13][14]

Padang's Minangkabau International Airport suffered minor damage, with parts of the ceiling in the boarding area falling down.[15] The airport reopened on 1 October.[16]


Only aftershocks with magnitude 5.0 or higher are listed.[17] The mainshocks with moment magnitude 7.6 Mw and 6.6 Mw are highlighted in light blue.

A second earthquake, which measured 6.6 Mw, struck the province of Jambi in central Sumatra, 01:52:29 local time on 1 October 2009 at a depth of 15 kilometres (9.3 mi), about 46 kilometres south-east of Sungaipenuh. The USGS said the earthquake, although in the same region, was not an aftershock as it was located too far from the initial quake.[6][18]
Lat Long Depth Magnitude
2009-09-30 10:16:09 0.789° S 99.961° E 80 km (50 mi) 7.6 (Mw)
2009-09-30 10:38:54 0.717° S 100.070° E 104.2 km (65 mi) 5.5 (Mw)[19]
2009-10-01 02:20:31 2.465° S 101.342° E 10 km (6 mi) 5.0 (Mw)


U.S. airmen and Marines unload relief supplies in Padang

Indonesian officials have suggested that the death toll is likely to rise sharply, because of the large number of people trapped in collapsed buildings. Authorities announced that several disaster management teams were en route to Padang although it took several hours for them to reach more remote areas.[20] Rescue workers pulled dozens of survivors from the rubble and rushed them to Djamil Hospital. The hospital itself was overwhelmed with patients, and many patients were treated in tents set up outside the hospital. A man was trapped beneath a flattened hotel for 25 hours with a broken leg before rescue workers pulled him free. The Indonesian military deployed emergency response teams with earth moving equipment to help move rubble and recover trapped victims.[21] Rescue workers and volunteers searched the rubble of a collapsed 3-story course building, rescuing survivors and recovering bodies while parents waited nearby. Indonesian villagers used their bare hands to sift through ruins and try to find survivors.[22] On October 5, Indonesian rescue workers called off their search for trapped survivors and increased efforts to recover bodies, clear rubble, and provide aid to survivors.[23] Indonesian authorities used helicopters to airdrop instant noodles, blankets, milk, and dry food into remote areas, and to bring the wounded from these areas to hospitals.

World Vision, Oxfam, IFRC, Muslim Charity and Mercy Corps have confirmed that they are flying their emergency response teams to the devastated Padang area to do the rapid assessment of the catastrophe.[24] The Red Cross is seeking donations to help cover earthquake relief costs.[25] World Vision has also airlifted 2,000 collapsible water containers and will distribute them immediately to the area most affected by earthquake. Additionally World Vision has launched US$ 1 million appeal for the relief effort.[26]

Countries that sent aid

Below is the table of countries that have sent or pledged aid for Indonesia[27]

Australia A team of 10 army engineers and a 36-member civilian search and rescue team. HMAS Kanimbla, a Royal Australian Navy ship equipped with a hospital and a helicopter was sent. A 36-person urban search and rescue team and about 20 Australian Defence Force medics and engineers were expected to arrive in Padang on October 3. Australia also provided A$250,000 to Indonesian NGO Muhammadiyah to support its medical teams and humanitarian operations and A$100,000 to the Indonesian Red Cross for its emergency response.[28]
China Emergency aid worth $500,000. China's Red Cross also provided $50,000
Denmark A six-man crew and camp material
Estonia Estonia will be sending an information technology expert to Indonesia along with the UN Disaster Assessment and Co-ordination (UNDAC) team, and the Foreign Ministry has also decided to support victims of the earthquake in Indonesia with 1,000,000 kroons.[29]
European Union Aid worth 3 million euros
Germany Emergency aid worth 1 million euros
Hongkong HKD 4 million has been channeled through World Vision Hongkong[30]
Ireland Noel Wardick, Head of the Irish Red Cross International Dept went to Indonesia on October 2. Irish Red Cross volunteers worked to rescue people and provide food, clean water and shelter.[31]
Japan A team of 60 search and rescue workers and 23 medical personnel. It also provided emergency goods such as tents, sleeping mats, blankets and power generators. A Japanese medical team comprising 23 doctors arrived in Pariaman on October 3.[32]
Malaysia Mercy Malaysia deployed two-member team to Padang on October 1 to conduct an on-the-ground assessment to determine the humanitarian needs. An initial total of RM 100,000 has been allocated from the emergency fund to respond to this recent disaster.[33] Malaysian Red Crescent Society said it was ready to deploy a five-member Regional Disaster Response Team consist of a doctor, a nurse and relief officers to Padang to provide emergency relief to the earthquake victims on October 2.[34] State Government of Selangor allocated RM 500,000 for relief effort in Padang.[35] Mercy Malaysia deployed a team consisting of an orthopaedic surgeon, a general surgeon, an anaesthetist, general practitioners (GPs) and nurses on October 4 to treat the earthquake victims in and around Pariaman which is located some 80 km north of Padang, Sumatra. The team will bring along with them surgical sets and primary healthcare kits worth a total of RM 100,000.[36] Malaysian Search and Rescue Team (Smart) with 39 members left for Padang to assist in the search and rescue efforts for victims who were trapped under rubble following last Wednesday's 7.6-magnitude earthquake. There was also a medical team sent to the capital of West Sumatra comprising 17 officers from the Malaysian Armed Forces medical corps, 8 officers from Malaysian Health Ministry, 2 officers from the National Security Division and NGO Mercy Malaysia.[37][38] Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in Johor Baharu sent 14 volunteers to Padang to help in the humanitarian relief efforts. In a statement, Deputy vice-chancellor Prof Dr Mohd Azrai Kassim said the team comprised students and staff of the university to help in providing a fresh water supply.[38]
Netherlands Emergency aid of 500,000 euros
Norway Norway pledged a total of NOK 20,000,000 for emergency relief efforts.[39]
Russia Two aircraft, logistical supplies, medical supplies, doctors, nurses, and a search and rescue team with sniffer dogs
Saudi Arabia The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has sent a maximus Aircargo plane carrying two units of trucks, one ambulance disaster response unit, a Search and Rescue (SAR) team, medicines, and four sniffer dogs that will be used to identify the presence of victims, both survivors and victims who died under collapsed buildings in West Sumatra.[28]
Singapore Has pledged $50,000 worth of emergency relief supplies, including temporary shelters, blankets and medicine. It has also sent a 54-member medical team from the Singapore Armed Forces, 42-member Civil Defense Force search, rescue contingent and three helicopters.[40]
South Korea A 43-person search and rescue team and $500,000 in aid
Switzerland A search and rescue team
Qatar An aircraft, search and rescue team, logistical supplies
Taiwan Taiwan decided to donate $150,000 to the effort.[39]
Thailand Thailand will send a plane on October 3 with relief supplies worth $170,000 to Jakarta.[39]
Turkey Turkish Red Crescent appointed an ad-hoc representative to the Coordination Center operated by Indonesian Red Cross.[41]
United Arab Emirates A 56-member search and rescue team, medical supplies, heavy equipment
United States Emergency aid worth $3,000,000. It has also pledged $3 million, and provided an Air Force C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, Navy C-12 transport aircraft and crew. The USS Denver and the USS McCampbell were sent to assist.[42] Eight U.S. Navy and Marine Corps helicopters from these ships delivered more than 360,000 pounds of food, water and emergency shelter supplies from disaster relief NGOs to remote regions inaccessible by land. These helicopters also flew government and NGO survey teams to conduct assessments of hard-hit areas. Indonesian military and U.S. Air Force doctors, along with Navy corpsmen, treated more than 2,000 patients at an Air Force humanitarian assistance rapid response team field hospital set up in Padang; small teams of U.S. and Indonesian medical personnel also embarked helicopters and made medical visits to a handful of remote villages, transporting injured persons back to Padang for treatment.[43][44]
United Kingdom Humanitarian experts assessed the damage. The Department for International Development (DfID) team carried UK aid agency staff and rescue equipment including plastic sheeting, medical and water purifying equipment. The search and rescue team was made up of 65 firefighters. Meanwhile, 10 volunteers from the International Rescue Corps, based in Grangemouth, Stirlingshire, flew to Sumatra. They took specialist equipment including listening devices and camera systems which can penetrate rubble to search for trapped survivors in collapsed buildings. S.A.R.A.I.D. (Search and Rescue Assistance in Disasters), a Southwest based charity, mobilised a team of 10 personnel and over a ton of technical equipment to Padang. Gloucester-based search and rescue specialist Rapid-UK sent a 16-person team to the area.[45]


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  33. ^ "Mercy Malaysia sends assessment team to Padang, Indonesia in response to earthquake".  
  34. ^ "RMAF to evacuate students, aid on the way to Indonesia (Updated)".  
  35. ^ "A chance to demonstrate Malaysian goodwill".  
  36. ^ "Mercy Malaysia sending surgical and medical team to Pariaman".  
  37. ^ "Malaysia channels three types of assistance to Indonesia".  
  38. ^ a b "PM Wants More Medical Personnel To Be Sent To Padang".  
  39. ^ a b c "More countries pledge aid for quake victims".  
  40. ^ "S'pore team in Indonesia to help quake victims".  
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  43. ^ Department of Defense (2009-10-22). "DoD Bloggers Roundtable". Department of Defense. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  44. ^ MCC Ty Swartz (2009-10-16). "Navy Wraps Up Indonesian Relief Mission". Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  45. ^ "UK rescue team head to Indonesia".  

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