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Indonesian Rescue Workers Search for Quake Survivors in Java


Indonesian rescue workers are digging through rubble to search for survivors of Saturday's powerful earthquake on Java island that has killed more than 4,000 people.

Meteorologists say more than 450 aftershocks have shaken the region since the 6.3 magnitude quake rocked the densely populated area. The strongest aftershock was measured at 5.2.

Most of the casualties occurred in the town of Bantul, south of Yogyakarta city.

Thousands of earthquake survivors returned to their ruined homes Sunday, trying to salvage personal belongings after spending the night in the open.

Residents say grieving relatives are quickly burying the dead in village graveyards, in line with Islamic tradition.

Medical workers are struggling to care for thousands of people injured in the quake. Doctors say they are short of surgeons, and many patients are being treated outdoors because of the lack of space.

Pledges of assistance have been pouring in. Washington raised its initial offer of aid to two-and-a-half million dollars (, up from an earlier pledge of half a million dollars), while China is pledging two-million dollars.

Offers of money have also come from Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

The Red Cross has appealed for $10 million for immediate assistance to survivors. It says the disaster has left about 200,000 people homeless

President Bush telephoned his Indonesian counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to express condolences for the disaster. Mr. Bush said his government will provide additional support to Jakarta as needed.

Mr. Yudhoyono is in Yogyakarta to monitor the rescue efforts.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says officials from the U.S. Agency for International Development have been sent to Yogyakarta to see how the financial aid can be used.

Saturday's earthquake was centered about 80 kilometers south of Mount Merapi, an active Indonesian volcano.

Experts say the quake was not related to the volcano's recent eruptions, but the tremor may cause more volcanic activity. They say they quake may have caused volcanic rocks to fall into Merapi's lava dome, possibly increasing the volume of magma in the volcano.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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