Sunday, May 28, 2006

Indonesian earthquake death toll rises further

More than two-and-a-half-thousand people have now been reported dead and hundreds more have been injured after an earthquake shook the area around Indonesia's ancient royal city and tourist centre Yogyakarta. The city, on Indonesia's main island of Java, is near Mount Merapi, a volcano that has put people on alert for a major eruption this month. The epicentre of the quake, which measured six-point-two on the Richter scale, was offshore but it did not cause a tsunami. Witnesses say hundreds of houses have collapsed and office and government buildings are also in ruins. Hospital patients were moved outside due to fears of aftershocks.

Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said this morning there were no indications yet that any South Africans had been affected by the quake, but South Africa's diplomatic mission in Indonesia would continue checking. The South African government has also expressed its condolences to the government and people of Indonesia and says it is ready to assist in any way possible.

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