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Indonesian VP says Quake Costs Rising

Indonesia's vice president is calling on international aid organizations to deliver reconstruction aid for the May 27 earthquake quickly, and donor groups are appealing for more support as estimates of the disaster's cost continue to rise.

Estimates of those made homeless by the May 27 earthquake in Central Java have shot up in recent days from 200,000 to more than one million, as damage assessment teams discover more buildings with serious damage.

Indonesian Vice President Jusef Kalla says the loss of life in Aceh province in the 2004 tsunami was 30 times higher than in Java, but injuries and damage to buildings were much higher this time.

"But housing, housing in Aceh, around 150,000 house have damage. In Central Java, more than 200,000, 250,000 house have collapsed - damage or loss. Why, first because density of peoples is more," he said.

Kalla says the population density in Central Java is about 10 times higher than in Aceh's damaged areas.

About 5,800 people died as a result of the 6.3 magnitude earthquake, but 40,000 were injured. Only about a thousand were injured in Aceh, but Kalla noted that the low number of injuries there was mainly because the tsunami killed most of the people in its path. Buildings on Aceh were simply swept away by the massive waves.

Another factor which increased the number of injuries on Java was the brick and mortar construction of most destroyed homes. Kalla says a group from the largest university in Yogyakarta, near the earthquake's center, will help to ensure that rebuilt homes are quake proof.

He says medical services for injured earthquake survivors will be needed for up to two years.

A consortium of major donors, called the Consultative Group of Indonesia, visited Yogyakarta Thursday to help assess the damage. One of its members, the Asian Development Bank, has already pledged $65 million in grants and loans following the quake.