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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 July 2006, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
Tsunami death toll rises to 650
A tsunami survivor burns debris at a village in Pangandaran, West Java, Indonesia
Debris from the tsunami is burned as part of the clean-up
The death toll in the tsunami that struck the Indonesian island of Java has risen to more than 650.

Around 100 new bodies have been found in recent days, the national disaster agency said. More than 300 people are still missing after Monday's disaster.

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

Towns hardest hit are showing signs of a return to normal, but many people are still too scared to return home.

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

Health officials are worried about the threat of disease among the several thousands of people who are camping out in the hills above the tsunami-hit area, Reuters news agency reports.

"The risk of catching diseases is there because they live in an open area with limited tents and water," Rustan Pakaya, of the health ministry's crisis centre, told Reuters.

He said people were being given injections to protect them from diseases such as measles, tetanus and cholera.

Market open

But while people are opting to spend the night in temporary camps, they are returning to towns during the day to pick up supplies, district officials say.

Many businesses in Pangandaran - the town hardest hit by the disaster - have begun to open up again.

Indonesia map

"The market and many shops are already open today and although they are not operating fully, things are slowly returning to normal," district spokesman Wasdi bin Umri told the AFP news agency.

Huge bonfires were lit on Saturday to clear the debris from the beach.

But as the clean up continues, so too does the search for victims.

Mr bin Umri said the army-led rescuers had been instructed to continue searching for bodies trapped under the rubble on Pangandaran beach.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited the town on Friday and met people displaced by the disaster.

He has vowed to accelerate efforts to build an early warning system planned after the 2004 Asian tsunami, saying "I will work with parliament to get the budget".

His government has come under fire over why no warning was given to local people in the latest tsunami.

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 co-ordinates of the earthquake and no tsunami warning.




SEE ALSO
Leader visits Java tsunami town
21 Jul 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Java tsunami death toll increases
18 Jul 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Asia tsunami warning system ready
28 Jun 06 |  Asia-Pacific
The tsunami disaster explained
30 Dec 04 |  In Depth
Country profile: Indonesia
23 Mar 06 |  Country profiles

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