Powerful Earthquakes Strike Indonesia

A powerful earthquake struck a remote region of Indonesia shortly before noon Saturday, further disrupting efforts to get relief to victims of a temblor the day before that killed nearly 30 people.

The earthquake on Saturday damaged homes and other buildings near coastal Nabire (search) in Indonesia's Papua (search) province, but details were not immediately available because the region is so remote.

On Saturday, people in Nabire, which has a population of about 26,000, cleared fallen walls and glass in their homes that was left from Friday's quake. They pushed aside fallen trees that blocked roads.

Many said they feared that weakened buildings would eventually collapse.

At the local hospital, plaster and other debris from cracked walls smashed medical equipment. Hospital workers treated the injured in makeshift tents.

The tarmac at one end of the runway at the airport in Nabire, 2,000 miles northeast of Jakarta, was badly cracked at one end, preventing larger planes from landing.

Two pipelines at a petrochemical storage depot nearby were reported to have ruptured, but no leaks were detected.

Arif Sukanto (search), an official from the National Coordinating Board for the Management of Disaster in Jakarta said at least 28 people died.

"It takes a while for casualty data to come in as communication lines are very bad. But, we don't expect a significant jump in the number of deaths," Sukanto said.

The U.S. Geological Survey gave a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 for Saturday's earthquake, while Geoscience Australia said it was magnitude 7.2.

Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics agency recorded the aftershock at 6.2, saying the discrepancy was due to different calibrations of equipment.

"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.

While rescuers struggled to get relief supplies and search crews to Nabire, survivors gave harrowing accounts of the earlier quake.

A local nurse, Itje Wanaha, who said she had access to casualty figures, said earlier that 34 people had died including a mother and a 2-year-old child, who were crushed under a cupboard and piles of rubble.

"It was the biggest earthquake I've ever felt in my entire life," Wanaha said. "I'm really traumatized."

"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 fallen furniture.

Welfare Minister Jusuf Kalla and Papua governor Jacob Solossa inspected the area late Saturday and delivered supplies of food, blankets and medicine to victims.

Nabire is on the northern coast of Papua, a province formerly known as Irian Jaya. The province occupies the western half of New Guinea island.

Friday's quake leveled up to 500 houses — mostly built from wood, bamboo and thatch — in Nabire and the nearby towns of Enarotali and Manokwari.

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago of 17,000 islands, is prone to earthquakes because of its location on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire" — volcanic arcs and oceanic trenches partly encircling the Pacific Basin.