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The BBC's Richard Galpin
"International assistance has now started to arrive"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 7 June, 2000, 09:40 GMT 10:40 UK
Fears over quake island
Refugees arrive from Enganno
The first refugees arrive from Enggano
Concern is growing for the residents of a small Indonesian island situated near the epicentre of Sunday's massive earthquake.

Nearly all the houses on Enggano, off the coast of Sumatra, were destroyed, but so far it is not known what happened to the population of nearly 2,000.

On Sumatra itself, tens of thousands of people have spent a third night outdoors, fearful of more aftershocks.

Foreign aid has begun to arrive in the region.

At least 117 people are now known to have died, many of them crushed in their sleep by collapsing buildings.

But the figure is expected to rise as communications are restored with the worst affected areas.

Seismologists said nearly 400 aftershocks had followed the initial quake in Bengkulu province, which measured 7.9 on the Richter scale.

Injured woman being carried up hill
An injured woman arrives from Enggano

Indonesian rescuers headed for the remoter parts of Sumatra on Wednesday as international relief began to arrive.

Most of the dead have come from Bengkulu town, the provincial capital, and surrounding districts.

Hundreds more are injured and thousands have been left homeless by the quake, one of the biggest to hit Indonesia in recent years.


Officials said they hoped to get a clearer picture on Wednesday of what has happened on Enggano island.

Cracks in road
Damage is estimated at $6m

An Indonesian navy ship is due to arrive at Enggano on Wednesday.

About 100 refugees have already fled from Enggano to Sumatra by boat.

"Everything has been ruined. All the houses are damaged," said one islander, Wawan.

"No help has come to us yet. The island needs help, food, medicine and tents."

Health scare

The Antara news agency reported preliminary damage of some $6m.

Thousands of homes, buildings and schools have been wrecked along with roads and bridges.

earthquake victims
The injured are treated in a makeshift ward in a carpark

But relief efforts are being hampered by heavy rains and flooding.

Despite the downpour, doctors in Bengkulu town are treating victims in hospital car parks because of damage to operating theatres.

But they are desperately short of medicines and blood transfusion supplies.

Health officials are also worried that a lack of clean water might trigger the spread of disease.

Singapore Army medical personnel unload relief supplies
Relief supplies arrive from Singapore
Singapore has sent military planes carrying medical supplies and tents to Bengkulu.

Three Dutch navy ships and one frigate from Belgium are also anchored off the coast ready to deliver food, water and medicine.

The leader of the Dutch naval mission headed to the disaster zone after reading about the quake over the internet while at sea off northern Sumatra.

A UN disaster assessment team is already in Bengkulu, as well as Red Cross and Crescent staff.

The earthquake, whose epicentre was 112km (70 miles) offshore from Bengkulu, was felt as far away as Singapore.

Some of those affected by the quake have been e-mailing BBC News Online telling of their ordeals.

Florence from Singapore said: "The first tremor was the strongest and we could not really stand properly.

"We live in the tallest floor and are the worst affected. Downstairs, people dressed in their pyjamas were out on the streets, helpless and full of anxiety."

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See also:

06 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Sumatra quake
05 Jun 00 | Sci/Tech
Sumatra: Caught between two plates
04 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Quake kills 16 in Indonesia
30 Mar 00 | Sci/Tech
The Earth's Ring of Fire
30 Nov 98 | Asia-Pacific
Quake rocks Indonesian islands
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