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Indonesia death toll hits 32,000 JAKARTA - Rescuers in Indonesia's battered island of Sumatra are struggling to combat disease and food shortages, in the wake of Sunday's devastating earthquake. The death toll in Indonesia now stands at more than 32,000, officials say. Most of those were in Aceh province on northern Sumatra, the landmass closest to the epicentre of the quake. Many areas along Sumatra's west coast have not yet been reached, and officials said the death toll could therefore rise further.
In the capital of Aceh, Banda Aceh, thousands of Indonesian troops have been drafted in to help clear bodies of those killed by the devastating earthquake and subsequent sea surges, also known as Tsunamis. Many residents are reportedly trying to leave the area, afraid of fresh quakes and sea surges. There are huge queues for petrol around the capital. "I've been in the queue for six hours and the line only just began moving now," Banda Aceh resident Husain told Reuters.

Worse to come?

But the situation there is only part of the picture, according to our correspondent in the province, Rachel Harvey. The true scale of the disaster along the south-western coast and among the string of small islands just off the coast is still not known, she says. A major relief effort is desperately needed, but so far the operation on the ground appears patchy at best, she adds.
Roads have been covered with mud, smashed vehicles and the debris of collapsed buildings, and the shortage of heavy equipment is hampering efforts to restore links. The first ship carrying emergency supplies is reported to have reached the town of Meulaboh, where thousands of people are feared dead. Military spokesman Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin said several naval ships were heading to the area with tons of food, water and medicine - but he admitted their task was a difficult one.
"We have very sketchy information about how many died there and the extent of the devastation. We're having extraordinary problems communicating there," he told the Associated Press news agency. "We can only reach a quarter of the western coast," added Doti Indrasanto, a doctor in Banda Aceh. "We've got piles of food and medicine and we can't get it through to these places," he told the Associated Press.
Health experts are warning that - in all the countries affected by Sunday's disaster - outbreaks of diseases such as malaria and cholera could prove as deadly as the effects of the earthquake, unless preventative measures are taken as soon as possible. Adding to the problems facing rescuers, Aceh is currently under military rule, as the army fights a separatist rebel insurgency. Under normal circumstances, the movements of aid agencies and journalists are severely restricted.
But since Sunday's disaster, rebels from the Free Aceh Movement (Gam) have ordered a ceasefire so aid can be taken to affected areas, while the military has said it is too busy with disaster relief work to hunt rebels.



Posted in Earthquake @ 29 December 2004 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

indahnesia.com lists all earthquakes that occur in Indonesia. For your convenience we display them in a list and a Google Map. It is as accurate and recent as you can imagine as we check for updates every few minutes. If an earthquake occurs in Indonesia, this is the place to check it out in the first place.






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