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Thousands Perish in Java Killer Quake PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Saturday, 27 May 2006 04:39
Thousands Perish in Java Killer Quake

CBC News Online
- Rescue efforts continued into the night Saturday in Indonesia's Central Java province after a massive earthquake left more than 3,000 people dead and injured thousands more.


'Little time to get out':
3,000 die in Indonesia quake
Last Updated Sat,
27 May 2006 15:22:48 EDT

CBC News

 photo: http://www.cbc.ca/gfx/images/news/photos/2006/05/27/indo-quake-ap-10089695.jpg 
A house is seen flattened following a strong earthquake in Bantul, Indonesia. (Pramita/Associated Press) 

INDEPTH: Forces of Nature - Earthquakes

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck at 5:54 a.m. local time, and was felt the strongest in the town of Bantul, 55 kilometres southwest of the ancient city of Yogyakarta.

One official told Reuters the Bantul region accounted for more than 2,000 of those killed.

INDEPTH: Indonesia

As night fell, many people were seen sleeping in the street as the army and relief workers struggled to help in the evacuation.

"It's pitch dark. We have to use candles and we are sitting outside now. We are too scared to sleep inside," Tjut Nariman told Reuters on the outskirts of Yogyakarta.

"The radio keeps saying there will be more quakes. We still feel the tremors."

Mass graves

Many roads and bridges were damaged and in the worst-hit areas mass graves were being dug.

"Since the earthquake started very violently, there was little time for people to get out," Brook Weisman-Ross, the Regional Disaster Coordinator for Plan International, told CBC News from Yogyakarta.

"Many government buildings and large buildings across the city sustained significant damage to them."

"It lasted for about a minute and a half, but it felt like forever," the BBC's Orlando de Guzman told CBC News

In several of the surrounding villages, about 90 per cent of the houses were flattened or severely damaged," said de Guzman, who lives in the region.

Many people affected

As many as 150,000 people may have been displaced by the disaster, Weisman-Ross said, adding that there were no clear numbers yet.

"I would say that's probably a likely figure since there's a dense population here," he said.

"The number of casualties is expected to rise," the Indonesian Red Cross said on its website, since many people remain trapped or buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings.

The quake's epicentre was in the sea at a depth of 33 kilometres. The Jakarta earthquake centre said it did not cause a tsunami.

Yogyakarta is a city of more than a million people who live about 30 kilometres from the summit of Mount Merapi, a volcano that had been threatening a major eruption this month.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

A quake with a magnitude of 6 of greater has the potential to cause severe damage.

Last Updated on Saturday, 27 May 2006 04:39

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