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Page last updated at 06:41 GMT, Monday, 29 May 2006 07:41 UK

Rain compounds Java quake misery

Survivors are struggling with the loss of loved ones

Survivors of an earthquake that killed at least 4,900 people on Indonesia's island of Java have spent a second night outdoors.

Driving rain has forced some to return to the rubble of their homes.

Many bodies are still thought to be trapped under debris and rescuers say the odds of finding survivors are slim.

An aid operation is gathering speed in the worst-hit areas around Yogyakarta, where 20,000 people are said to have been hurt and 200,000 left homeless.

The quake, measuring 6.3, struck on Saturday morning, flattening buildings in a densely-populated area south of the city of Yogyakarta.

Officials at Indonesia's social affairs ministry said 4,983 people were known to have died, while other reports put the death toll at more than 5,100.

Aid effort

A major relief operation has swung into motion, with teams from across the country and abroad arriving in the disaster zone.

The town of Bantul, south of Yogyakarta city - where some two thirds of the victims died - has become the centre for this operation, with aid agencies and the Indonesian military co-ordinating to distribute it to surrounding towns and villages.

Map

However, news agencies also reported local officials saying aid distribution on the ground to outlying areas was slow, as might be expected with such a large operation.

Heavy rain late on Sunday made conditions worse for those left homeless by the quake.

United Nations aid agencies are due to meet in Geneva on Monday to plan humanitarian relief for the country.

The agencies, including Unicef, the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization and the International Red Cross, have already begun distributing some relief supplies but say much more will be needed.

Field clinics

The BBC's Rachel Harvey in Yogyakarta says the situation is still desperate in the worst affected region around the city - 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.

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

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

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

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.

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

There are reports of heightened activity at the volcano since the quake struck.

AID PLEDGES SO FAR
UK - $5.5m
EU - $3.8m
US - $2.5m
Australia - $2.3m
China - $2m
Canada - $1.8m

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

The area also has better infrastructure than most places in Indonesia because it is popular with tourists and the government and the aid agencies have gained experience from the tsunami that struck the country in 2004.

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.

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

Map
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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