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Indonesian Earthquake Rescue Efforts Increase In Villages


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After six days searching for survivors from the earthquake that hit the Indonesian island of Sumatra, rescue workers are shifting their focus from the city of Padang to bring aid to the rural areas where landslides buried entire villages.

Initial rescue efforts concentrated on the city of Padang where more than 500 people died. Most were trapped in tall buildings that collapsed after the earthquake.

Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency spokesman Gagah Prakoso says they are now focusing on relief and reconstruction efforts in the rural areas where landslides may have killed thousands more.

He says they are concentrating on Pariaman, dropping aid from the air to remote areas.

Prakoso says that it is unlikely they will find anyone alive in the landslide areas, where some villages were totally buried. He says they are bringing in heavy construction equipment, but there is still some debate about whether or not to recover the bodies or to leave them in the ground.

He says some leaders say there is no need to dig up the bodies, but there are a lot of people who want their relatives to have a proper burial.

Little aid has reached the rural areas until now because many roads and bridges have been destroyed. Officials are concerned that heavy rains like a storm that occurred Sunday could trigger more landslides and hamper relief efforts.

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