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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK
Java earthquake: Readers' experiences
People crying
Thousands are mourning the loss of loved ones to the quake
Nearly six thousand people have been killed and many others injured by a strong earthquake on the Indonesian island of Java.

BBC News website readers in the region have been describing their experiences. This page will be updated with more eyewitness accounts as they come in.


I'm down in Bantul, the southern area. It's really really bad.

There are so many homeless people here and it's raining heavily.

I came here by car from Yogyakarta, 25 km away, to try to help. I brought food and shelter. It took me half an hour to get here.

Some individuals like me are trying to help, but not the government. I really don't know what the government is doing right now.

I heard people from Bantul on the radio saying they hadn't received any help. So I came here and it's true. They have no food and no shelter.

There's very bad organisation and bad management here.

All the hospitals are struggling, there are not enough doctors or medicine.

When people give donations, some of it goes to ministers' pockets.

Some people are taking the opportunity to make money. I bought 500 boxes of noodles, the shop keepers raised the price.


I work for a Finnish company in Indonesia. I was in Yogyakarta on 27th May and experienced the quake firsthand.

On Sunday the 28th May I went to the quake-hit area of Bantul with aid provided by my company.

I and my colleagues arrived in the rain at the Bantul relief coordination centre on Sunday at about 1830.

We saw a number of trucks with relief materials waiting to handover their cargo to the authorities.

No one from the authority seemed to be taking interest in coordinating the arriving aid. They were busy talking to each other.

It is sad to see that quite a lot of relief material is at hand and is not organised properly and efficiently to receive and distribute to the needy.

We were forced to take our pick up truck to the University campus area where some of our other colleagues were erecting the tents to coordinate the relief works.

Why is the available material not being distributed in an organised way? There is no point in waiting for the relief material to come from overseas if the material to hand is not being distributed.

I saw an article in the Jakarta Post mentioning that people are crying for immediate help but the reality on the ground is very disappointing.


People continue to be in a state of shock. Many are displaced, now housed in canvas tents on rice fields near the homes that have been destroyed.

I have spent the last two days in the hospital, witnessing the desperate need of the people. Operations are performed on the floor, atop bamboo mats or mattresses. The pain looks unbearable.

Many children and elders line the streets with boxes asking for donations.

Most malls, vendors, markets and restaurants are closed.

The once bustling city has turned quiet with mourners and the displaced searching for assistance and support. The clean-up process will be a challenge, considering the lack of tools and resources the local people have access to. Manual labour will take a very long time.

I send my condolences to those who lost loved ones, livelihoods and homes. May you receive the assistance that is so desperately needed.


The clean-up operation here is very much in its early stages. In places like Bantul, which were hit hardest, they are still digging out bodies from the rubble.

I went out of Yogyakarta today and saw some of the destruction in the smaller villages.

In one of the villages, Kasongan, they normally make many of the colourful handicrafts on sale in this part of Indonesia. Now lots of the shops are ruined.

One man was in high spirits, considering what has happened. Many were like him, thankful for what they didn't lose

Not far away, almost the entire village of Jatis has been levelled. There are maybe six or seven structures still standing.

Almost everyone in the village, which was home to several hundred people, seems to have lost a loved one.

Some had lost their entire family under collapsed buildings.

It was sheer destruction, like the buildings had been blown away. It was out of my league.

People were asking for donations, asking for some kind of help.

I spoke to one man who lost his mother, but he was in high spirits, considering what has happened. Many people were like him - they seemed thankful for what they didn't lose.

They want people to know what happened to them, and they seemed to appreciate foreigners coming to visit.

It was quite uplifting.


When the earthquake hit I was 180km away from my house in Yogyakarta, but we could still feel the ground shake.

At first we didn't realise how serious an earthquake it was. But then my uncles told me that many houses had been destroyed. We watched the TV and saw what was happening back at home.

Injured survivors in Yogyakarta
The streets of Yogyakarta are still filled with injured survivors
It was a shock at first to see Yogyakarta on the TV. I quickly spoke to my sister and my father to see if they were OK. They were fine. They had run away from their house to save themselves.

I got back here at 1300 on Sunday. My house is OK but elsewhere the damage is obvious. A lot of people still need help: food, money, a new home.

The situation is still out of control because many people are afraid to stay here and wait for help
There are still people waiting to see a doctor. The situation is still out of control because many people are afraid to stay here and wait for help. They are afraid of a new earthquake and they want to leave.

Some are coming here to try and find their relatives, but many can't find them or their homes. Electricity is not really working properly.

A lot of those who died were either in school or were older people. Their families have idea if they are alive or dead.


I'm still in a state of shock, more than 12 hours after the earthquake.

At 0555 this morning I was awoken by terrible noise and shaking.

My wife, my son and I ran outside into the street.

It was very frightening. I have lived here for 18 years and never experienced anything like that.

We thought it was a volcano eruption at Mount Merapi to the north as that has been very active recently.

The streets were full of other people who had ran out of their houses in fear.

March 2005 - Magnitude 8.7 earthquake kills 1,300 people on the island of Nias off Sumatra
Dec 2004 - Indian Ocean tsunami, resulting from a 9.3 magnitude earthquake off northwest Sumatra, kills more than 200,000 people across the Indian Ocean region
June 2000 - Indian Ocean earthquake magnitude 7.9 kills more than 120 people in Bengkulu province, Sumatra
Feb 1996 - Magnitude 8.2 earthquake near Biak Island off Irian Jaya triggers tsunami leaving more than 100 dead
Dec 1992 - More than 2,000 people die in a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami on the island of Flores east of Bali
There was a real sense of panic in the air.

All sorts of wild rumours were circulating about a tsunami coming our way, but then gradually we heard people were fleeing to the north after the quake.

I haven't been able to travel around Yogyakarta to survey the damage as I'm out of petrol and everywhere is closed.

A 28-year-old woman who works in our house, Marsila, was meant to turn up to work this morning and didn't. She is from the Bantul area, where most of the fatalities seem to have occurred.

We're very concerned for her. She is living in a small house and has a small baby.

I will drive there tomorrow and try to find out what has happened to her.

It's very quiet on the streets here now, which is very strange because normally at this time there is a lot of noise from cars and motorcycles outside.

My house is fine, but the roofs of other houses around me have been damaged.

There have been several tremors since, not major ones but enough to frighten us.

It's going to be a real mess. We're just happy to be alive
We're still very scared as we're not sure if another earthquake will strike at any moment.

We'll be too afraid to sleep tonight. There's also a big concern that it could trigger a volcano eruption at Merapi.

The electricity is out, but we do have food and candles, for now.

There are reports that the hospitals are in a panic, with so many victims coming in from the south.

It was already obvious after the volcano [activity at Merapi] that they would struggle to cope with a disaster of this size.

It's going to be a real mess. We're just happy to be alive.

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