A powerful earthquake rocked Indonesia's Java today. At least 443 people were killed, Agence France-Press reported with reference to the Indonesian Red Cross. According to the latest information from the Associated Press, the death toll has reached over 1300 people.
The magnitude 6.2 quake, centered about 26 kilometers (16 miles) south of Yogyakarta, struck at 5:54 a.m. local time. Many houses and buildings collapsed and the tremors were felt in nearby cities as well on the north coast of the island. No tsunami was reported as a result of the quake.
Thousands of people were injured AFP said. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is expected to visit the area tomorrow, Detik.com reported, citing presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng.
Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is prone to earthquakes because the country sits along the Pacific Ocean's so-called "Ring of Fire" zone of active volcanoes and tectonic faults. Its 18,000 islands have 129 active volcanoes.
Trains headed for Yogyakarta were advised to stop operations for fear of landslides along the way, Bloomberg reports said.
Hospitals in Yogyakarta need more doctors, medical supplies and makeshift tents to provide shelter for around 15,000 patients, who were also being treated in parking lots, state Antara news agency said, citing Budi Mulyono, a spokesman of state-run Sardjito Hospital. Telephone lines to the area were out of order.
The earthquake struck an area about 40 kilometers north of Mount Merapi, which has been on the brink of an eruption since the authorities raised the alert to its highest level earlier this month. Merapi last erupted in 1994, killing 64 people and displacing 6,000 on Indonesia's most-densely populated island.
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