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Indonesian authorities say villages devastated in last week's earthquake may be declared mass graves.

Officials say as many as 400 people may have been buried alive by muddy landslides that washed over villages in the Padang district of Sumatra island.

Authorities say they will ask survivors for their approval of the mass graves.

A 7.6-magnitude earthquake triggered the landslides and collapsed buildings across the island, killing at least 704 people.

Rescuers say they expect the death toll to rise as high as 3,000 as more bodies are located.

Millions of dollars worth of foreign aid is pouring into the country, but distributing the supplies has proved challenging.

Helicopters are air-lifting aid to some remote areas, where earthquake victims complain of hunger and homelessness.

Rescue teams are scaling back the search for survivors to focus on helping the displaced.

Indonesia frequently experiences earthquakes because it sits on an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

In 2006, a strong earthquake devastated the area around Indonesia's ancient royal city of Yogyakarta, killing about 5,700 people. 




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