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Bush Sends Condolences Over Asian Earthquake

President Bush is expressing his condolences to families of the victims of the earthquake in Indonesia. The country's vice president says as many as 2000 people may have been killed.

President Bush says U.S. relief officials have already offered initial assistance and are moving quickly to gather information about what additional help may be needed.

The earthquake occurred approximately 200 kilometers southeast of the epicenter of a December quake, which triggered a massive tsunami, killing nearly 300,000 people across Southeast Asia.

Monday's earthquake off northern Sumatra triggered tsunami warnings in Indonesia, Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, and India, but the killer waves failed to materialize.

President Bush offered America's condolences for those killed in the magnitude 8.7 quake, which local officials say destroyed as much as 80 percent of the buildings in Gunung Sitoli, the biggest town in the area.

"This earthquake has claimed lives and destroyed buildings in a part of Indonesia that is only now beginning to recover from the destruction caused by the tsunami three months ago," said Mr. Bush.

Mr. Bush says the people of Indonesia can know that they are in Americans' prayers and that Washington is ready to help those affected.