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Banda Aceh battles raging fire BANDA ACEH - A lack of water is preventing firefighters in Indonesia's tsunami-devastated city of Banda Aceh from getting close to a raging blaze. Firefighters say the fire, spanning at least three kilometers (1.5 miles), was possibly caused by residents burning garbage. The Associated Press reports that while no one was living in the area, about 100 former residents were in the vicinity trying to salvage belongings and looking for missing loved ones.
One month after the tsunamis struck, debris from the disaster was blocking firefighters' access to the blaze, while flames approaching a power generator were raising fears of a possible gas explosion, AP said. Indonesia was hardest-hit by the quake and tsunami, with the number of dead and missing above 170,000, according to the Indonesian Health Ministry. Meanwhile, the Bush administration plans to nearly double its tsunami aid relief contribution to about $650 million for the nations hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami, congressional sources have told CNN.
The sources did not say when the increase would be announced formally. The United States already has pledged $350 million in aid. Republican and Democratic congressional sources told CNN the additional money could be tacked on to an $80 billion supplemental funding bill for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. If the United States does increase its tsunami relief aid to $650 million, it would be the third-largest donation from a country.
Australia has pledged about $760 million and Germany has offered $680 million. As Asia marks four weeks since the devastating December 26 tsunamis, the danger of disease so feared by experts following the disaster seems to have subsided. Predictions that as many as 150,000 could succumb to water-borne illness and infections like cholera and malaria are now unlikely, according to the World Health Organization.
WHO says the world's quick action immediately following the tsunamis -- such as supplying clean water and sanitation -- played a large part in neutralizing the outbreak of disease, according to AP reports. But despite the optimism, the threat of disease is still real, as seen by the surfacing of tetanus in Aceh CNN's Atika Shubert reported. Aceh has become the perfect breeding ground for tetanus as it can be contracted after deep cuts and gashes become infected with mud. Doctors fear an explosion of cases, since it takes about 30 to 60 days for symptoms to show.
While health issues are battled on one front, the struggle to keep the peace in Aceh continues on another, with mediators trying to arrange talks later this week. Finland's Crisis Management Initiative, headed by former President Martti Ahtisaari, confirmed Sunday that Indonesian government officials and rebel leaders would meet this week in Helsinki. They will discuss a formal cease-fire in tsunami-ravaged Aceh province, where separatists have been fighting for an independent homeland for nearly 30 years.
Peace is also high on the agenda in Sri Lanka, after Norway's foreign minister met with Sri Lanka's prime minister Sunday, a day after discussions with the top guerrilla leader, AP reports. Norway's prompting has seen the two warring factions come together to discuss a joint body to oversee the distribution of aid in the rebel-held northeastern areas. The tsunami killed nearly 30,000 people and displaced another one million in the island nation.



Posted in Earthquake @ 26 January 2005 00:02 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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