Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Sunday, 28 May 2006 17:38 UK

Search for Java quake survivors

Survivors in Bantul mourn their dead

A frantic search for survivors is continuing after a strong earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Java, killing more than 4,600 people.

Many people are still believed trapped under rubble and collapsed buildings, but rescue teams say the chances of finding anyone alive are slim.

Relief efforts are picking up speed, with teams from across the country and abroad arriving in the disaster zone.

The area struck by the quake is densely-populated.


The Indonesian Red Cross estimates some 200,000 people fled their homes after it hit early on Saturday morning.

At least 4,600 are thought to have been killed and more than 10,000 injured when the quake, measuring 6.3, flattened buildings south of the city of Yogyakarta.

The BBC's Rachel Harvey at the scene says the situation is still desperate in the worst affected region around the city of Yogyakarta - badly injured people are arriving at hospitals already short of space and hundreds of victims are having to be treated outdoors.

Field clinics are being set up to relieve the pressure on hospitals.

The worst devastation was in the town of Bantul, south of Yogyakarta city, where an official said more than 2,000 people had been killed.

There were also reports that one of the country's most important ancient temple complexes was badly damaged by the quake.

Initial surveys showed collapsed stone walls and statues lying scattered around the site at the Hindu Prambanan complex in Yogyakarta.

The temples are more than 1,000 years old and listed by the UN as a world heritage site.

Aid appeal

The Red Cross launched an appeal for $10m (7.7m euros), as world leaders pledged aid.

Unicef said it was sending emergency supplies including 2,000 tents, 9,000 tarpaulins and hygiene kits.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called on rescuers to work around the clock, as he visited the stricken area with a team of Cabinet ministers on Saturday.

I was jarred awake by my entire house shaking. My large bed was jumping inches from side to side
Kevin Freedman, Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta is near the Mount Merapi volcano, which threatened to erupt earlier this month, forcing thousands of people to be evacuated.

Experts were divided over whether the quake would affect Merapi, but there are reports of heightened activity at the volcano.

According to our correspondent, the relief effort planned for an imminent volcanic eruption has now been diverted to deal with the earthquake.

She says this means authorities in the city are better equipped to deal with the disaster than may have been expected.

Officials said that although the area affected was coastal there was no tsunami resulting from the quake.

The quake hit at 0554 local time (2253 GMT Friday), around 25km (15 miles) south of the city of Yogyakarta, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

Yogyakarta, Indonesia's ancient royal capital and one of its biggest cities, is about 440km (275 miles) south-east of the capital, Jakarta.

Aid effort hampered

Yogyakarta's airport was closed after sustaining damage. Indonesia's Transport Minister Hatta Radjasa said it would remain shut until at least Sunday while inspections were carried out, AP reported.

UK - $5.5m
EU - $3.8m
US - $2.5m
Australia - $2.3m
China - $2m
Canada - $1.8m

The aid effort was also reportedly hampered as the quake cut electricity and communications in some areas.

Indonesia is in a zone known as the Pacific "ring of fire", which is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity.

In December 2004, a huge earthquake off Indonesia's coast killed hundreds of thousands of people across the Indian Ocean by triggering a tsunami.

Two more earthquakes rocked the Pacific islands of Tonga and Papua New Guinea on Sunday, the US Geological Survey said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries caused by the tremors, which measured 6.7 and 6.2 respectively.

Located at borders of several tectonic plates
90% of the world's earthquakes occur along it
Also zone of frequent volcanic activity

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