JAKARTA, September 30 (RIA Novosti) - At least 75 people were killed on Wednesday when a powerful earthquake hit the Indonesian city of Padang, where around three quarters of the buildings were destroyed, a health official said.
Rustam Pakaya, the head of the health ministry's disaster center, said speaking on the local TvOne channel that the death of 75 people has been confirmed, and dozens more were hospitalized with injuries.
The death toll from the 7.6 magnitude earthquake is likely to rise as thousands of people are believed trapped under rubble in the city, capital of the Indonesian region of West Sumatra.
"Hundreds of houses were leveled to the ground," Pakaya said.
TV reports showed devastation and people fleeing the city in panic by car, on bicycles and on foot. Many city residents were trying to put out fires caused by the quake and to find their relatives under rubble.
The quake is the latest in a series of natural disasters to rock Indonesia. Part of the Pacific's Ring of Fire, Indonesia is in the world's most seismically active region, registering 6,000-7,000 earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.0 or above annually.
Earlier on Wednesday, an earthquake thousands of kilometers to the west caused several tsunamis, which hit the Pacific island nations of American and Western Samoa, and Tonga killing more than 100 people, injuring hundreds more and destroying villages.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed condolences to those who lost their relatives in the tsunamis and the earthquake or were left homeless, and pledged aid both to Samoa and Indonesia in dealing with the aftermath of the disasters.