Relief Efforts Under Way After Central Java Earthquake

The powerful earthquake that struck the Indonesian island of Java early Saturday morning has killed more than 3,000 people and injured thousands more. Chad Bouchard has this VOA report from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

The 6.2 magnitude quake shook the densely populated province of Central Java, hitting the ancient royal city of Yogyakarta hardest. Many buildings collapsed, and power supplies were cut off.

Health services have been stretched thin. One hospital collapsed in the quake, and remaining hospitals are filled with injured people. Hundreds more are waiting outside for treatment.

Emergency efforts are under way. Latifur Rahman, the head of emergency operations for the Indonesian Red Cross, says teams have been mobilized to look for survivors, and relief services have been pouring into the area.

"Also, from the relief site, we have mobilized 1,000 family tents, from our Surabaya district units, and also food and water, as well as body bags - thousands," he said.

Relief organizations already in the area, have been helping to evacuate people living around an active volcano. Their resources now have been diverted to help quake survivors.

A field unit hospital that was recently used to help victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is also on its way to Java.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Saturday morning ordered the army to help search for and evacuate victims.

The international response has also been swift, with Malaysia, France, Britain and Russia among the first to offer help.

The earthquake has increased activity in the nearby volcano, Mount Merapi, which has been threatening to erupt for several weeks. Local scientists are worried the tremor may have weakened a growing dome of lava at the volcano's summit.