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Last Updated: Friday, 6 February, 2004, 17:57 GMT
Indonesia quake leaves many dead
An earthquake victim is evacuated from the Indonesian town of Nabire
Many of the wounded have been evacuated
At least 23 people have been killed after an earthquake of magnitude 6.9 hit Indonesia's remote Papua province, officials said.

One report said as many as 600 people could be injured and hundreds of homes destroyed in the province, 3,000 km (1,900 miles) east of Jakarta.

A hospital, airport and mosques in the town of Nabire are said to be damaged.

It is thought the official death toll of 23 is likely to rise, as there is no word yet from outlying areas.

"This only the report from the city, not counting those outside the city because communications lines are dead," Nabire's police chief told Reuters news agency.

Another police spokesman said: "In a disaster of this magnitude, it's quite possible that could be more victims."

The earthquake happened at 0605 local time (2105 GMT Thursday) just seven km (four miles) from Nabire, Indonesia's national earthquake centre said.

"It felt as if the whole world was crumbling," an eyewitness said.

Several aftershocks have been reported. Residents are staying in makeshift tents for fear of further tremors.

Offices and shops have closed. As night fell, power to Nabire's 26,000 residents had not been restored.

The injured were reportedly being treated in tents as the main hospital in the area was badly damaged.

The BBC's Rachel Harvey
"Communication is extremely difficult"

Deadly history of earthquakes
31 Dec 03  |  In Depth
Country profile: Indonesia
13 Nov 03  |  Country profiles

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