3000 dead in Indonesia quake
A powerful earthquake flattened homes and hotels in main Indonesian island of Java early on Saturday, killing over 3,000 and injuring thousands more in the worst disaster to strike the nation since the 2004 tsunami.Updated: May 28, 2006 13:59 IST
A powerful earthquake flattened homes and hotels in main Indonesian island of Java early on Saturday, killing over 3,000 and injuring thousands more in the worst disaster to strike the nation since the 2004 tsunami.
The magnitude 6.2 quake struck at 5.54 am local time as people slept near the ancient city of Yogyakarta, 250 miles east of the capital, Jakarta. It was centred about 10 km below the surface, the US Geological Survey said.
Sixteen hours after the quake struck, the number of dead stood at 3,068, Social Affairs Ministry official Sopar Jaya said, adding that two-thirds of the fatalities were in devastated Bantul.
"The numbers just keep rising," said Arifin Muhadi of the Indonesian Red Cross, adding more than 3,400 people were hurt. Activity picked up at nearby Mount Merapi, one of the world's most active volcanoes, and one geologist warned the temblor could still spark a large eruption, though another downplayed those concerns.
The strong quake knocked down houses, hotels, a hospital and government buildings, sending hysterical people running into the streets. Many roads and bridges were destroyed, hindering efforts to get taxis and pickup trucks filled with wounded to packed hospitals.
In the hardest-hit district of Bantul, rescuers tried to pull bodies from the rubble as residents starteddigging mass graves, rows of corpses awaiting burial beneath the blazing sun.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered the army to help evacuate victims and arrived in densely populated Central Java province this afternoon with a team of Cabinet ministers to oversee rescue operations.
First Published: May 28, 2006 13:59 IST