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Indonesia: Relief Operations Fully Underway

Relief operations are fully underway on Indonesia's Nias Island, by the third day after an eight-point-seven magnitude earthquake struck the region, killing hundreds of people. VOA's Nancy-Amelia Collins filed this report from the Nias capital, Gunung Sitoli. It is narrated by Ernest Leong.

After trickling in for two days, aid to the shattered island began pouring in Thursday, with international aid organizations and the Indonesian military ferrying in water, food and medicine.

Scores of people sought refuge in temporary shelters in the island's capital, Gunung Sitoli.

As many as 30 percent of the town's buildings were destroyed when the quake struck late Monday. It came just three months after a magnitude nine quake in the same area sparked a tsunami that killed over 300,000 people across the Indian Ocean region.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited the island Thursday, and promised to take quick action to help residents, including getting the electricity running again.

The president says, in this emergency situation, the people of Indonesia must unite to overcome their hardships and rebuild their lives.

While Nias bore the brunt of the damage -- 500 of the 518 reported deaths occurred there, according to a UN survey -- Simuelue and Sumatra Islands were also affected.

Brian Williams, who owns a resort on Simeulue says, "I just had a call from the governor of the island who said that the world is not helping Simeulue. We need help in Simeulue so I'm organizing boats now."

There are deaths, destroyed buildings and traumatized survivors, including Juan Pedro Garcia.

"At the moment, I think it's just too uneasy. There's too much damage. No one knows what's going on. It's all up in the air at the moment. We just don't know," says Juan.

The full extent of the damage remains unclear, as rescue efforts continue.