PADANG, Indonesia — Across this coastal provincial capital, hardest hit by the latest earthquake to devastate Indonesia, mourners, survivors and rescue workers alike clawed through the rubble.
Some, like Malina Utami, had already realized the worst. She was just looking for the shoes missing from her dead daughter's body, found in the rubble of a four-story school that was flattened within seconds.
As the death toll climbed Thursday — to 1,100 by one U.N. estimate — others looked for survivors, with thousands of people missing and feared trapped in the wreckage of shattered buildings.
When search efforts were suspended for the night, an eerie quiet fell over the city of 900,000.
"Let's not underestimate. Let's be prepared for the worst," President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in the capital, Jakarta.
Government figures put the number of dead at 777, with at least 440 people seriously injured. John Holmes, the U.N.' s humanitarian chief, set the death toll at 1,100, and the number was expected to grow.
President Obama, who spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, pledged to support earthquake recovery efforts there, as well as provide assistance to the South Pacific countries of Samoa and American Samoa, which were hit by a deadly tsunami Tuesday.
Most of the confirmed deaths in Indonesia were reported in Padang, where more than 500 buildings were severely damaged or flattened.
Where a mall once stood was a heap of concrete slabs layered like pancakes with iron rods jutting out. Police and army rescue teams used bulldozers, backhoes and electric drills to clear the wreckage in intermittent rain, or climbed the hills of rubble to dislodge pieces of concrete with bare hands.
Relatives of the missing gathered outside ruined buildings, hoping to hear good news. But mostly, the rescuers found bodies.