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Hope Fades for Buried Indonesian Quake Victims

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Rescuers digging through the rubble of the shattered Indonesian city of Padang said Sunday there is little hope of finding more survivors of a massive earthquake that officials say may have buried at least 3,000 people.

Rescue teams in and around Padang, a city of 900,000, have been searching for survivors in collapsed buildings, but are increasingly retrieving only bodies.

In rural areas outside Padang, some villages have been wiped out by landslides triggered by the earthquake. Officials say more than 600 people have been buried in the landslides.

The United Nations says the death toll is at least 1,100 from the 7.6-magnitude undersea quake, which hit Wednesday off Indonesia's Sumatra island.

In one rescue attempt, an emergency team tried to reach people thought to be buried in the rubble of the giant Ambacang hotel. Officials say a survivor in the hotel sent a text message saying a few people in the rubble were still alive. However, rescue workers say they have not been able to locate anyone.

Many other countries are helping with the rescue effort or have pledged financial aid. The United States offered to send $300,000 in immediate assistance plus another $3 million later.

Indonesia is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin. In 2004, a 9.1-magnitude earthquake along the same fault line caused a tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people in several countries.

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