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Last Updated: Friday, 21 July 2006, 08:45 GMT 09:45 UK
Leader visits Java tsunami town
The Indonesian president meets residents staying in a temporary camp
Mr Yudhoyono says he will speed up efforts on the warning system
The Indonesian president has visited the Java town worst hit by Monday's tsunami as the number of dead in the disaster neared 550.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono met people staying in a temporary camp in Pangandaran, where many residents are too scared to return home.

The tsunami, triggered by an undersea earthquake, struck a 200km (125-mile) stretch of Java's southern coast.

A second earthquake on Wednesday night caused further panic among residents.

"I did not lose my home, and my husband and child are safe, but we are still traumatised by the tsunami and are too afraid to return home in case another one comes," one woman told the French agency AFP.

A relief worker at the main camp in Pangandaran told AFP about 3,000 people were staying there, but only about 500 of them had lost their homes. The others were scared to go home because they lived by the sea, she said.

West Java Governor Danny Setiawan told reporters that officials were trying to persuade people to return home.

The government should give us money to buy houses and a boat
Resident Poniyem Daryanto

Emergency relief work should be over by Sunday, he said, but a return to normalcy "could take five to six years".

Troops were still searching for more than 300 people still missing after the tsunami, using helicopters, boats and heavy moving equipment.

Aid was reaching those who needed it, but some residents said they wanted government help to regain their livelihoods.

"I don't have anything, only 5,000 rupiah ($0.55, 0.30) in my wallet," one woman told Reuters news agency. "The government should give us money to buy houses and a boat."


At the temporary camp in Pangandaran, Mr Yudhoyono urged one woman to "be strong".

A woman sits in a makeshift camp in Pangandaran on 19 July
Many of the displaced are in temporary camps

On Thursday he vowed to accelerate efforts to build an early warning system planned after the 2004 Asian tsunami.

"We want to expedite efforts to get infrastructure for the tsunami warning system in place," the Associated Press news agency quoted him as saying. "I will work with parliament to get the budget," he said.

Officials have faced questions about why no tsunami warning of the tsunami was given to local people.

US and Japanese agencies sent out warning bulletins, but the government says it was unable to relay the message to the coast.

On Thursday it emerged that text messages sent to government officials by the national meteorological agency after the earthquake contained only the coordinates of the earthquake and no tsunami warning.

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