Sumatra schools, offices deserted

Agence France Presse

Jakarta, April 11:

Offices, markets and schools in Indonesia’s Sumatra island city of Padang were deserted today, hours after a powerful earthquake sparked panic among people fearing a tsunami, residents said. Private businesses and government buildings were empty while schools were shut because of massive absenteeism, according to local journalists. Traffic was also much lighter that usual and the city’s commercial districts, including the main market were also quiet, with many shops closed. The quake, measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale, hit at 1029 GMT yesterday, with its epicentre estimated off the coast about 122.5 km southwest of Padang.