Crews find 2 who lived 2 days under rubble

Oct. 2, 2009 at 1:32 PM
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JAKARTA, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Two women who survived two days beneath the rubble of a building that fell after a 7.6-magnitude earthquake in Indonesia were rescued Friday, officials said.

The women -- a student and her instructor -- were pulled from the rubble in Padang Friday after soldiers and volunteers spent hours removing debris and feeding the women, The Jakarta Post reported.

Indonesians joined in the frantic search Friday for survivors in Sumatra province where officials said the death toll from back-to-back earthquakes was climbing.

As the United Nations estimated the number of dead at 1,100, survivors -- using every means including their hands to claw through the rubble of collapsed structures -- joined rescue and relief teams to save those trapped under the debris.

Some residents in Padang fought home and other fires with buckets of water, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported.

Padang -- the provincial capital and a major port, where authorities fought to bring back normalcy working with few essential services, broken roads and poor communication -- was hit hardest.

The first quake struck Wednesday with a magnitude of 7.6. The second, with a magnitude of 6.6, hit Thursday.

Doctors and staff at hospitals in Padang, faced with no power, treated the injured outside partially downed buildings as bodies lay stacked up in makeshift morgues, CNN reported.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who toured the disaster sites, urged rescue teams not to give up their search, and announced the release of funds for emergency programs for two months, Antara news agency reported.

The BBC reported the first flights carrying food and aid had arrived but much more was needed. The report said rescue teams had not been able to reach many parts of Padang, which has a population of 900,000.

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with Yudhoyono Friday to express condolences for the loss of life and the devastation left by the quakes, the White House said.

Obama also repeated the United States would "do everything we can to help alleviate the suffering and provide assistance to the relief operation," the White House said in a statement.

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