20 July, 2006

Tremors spark fear as Java tsunami toll hits 550

An aftershock in Indonesia's tsunami-ravaged region and a new tremor off the southwestern Java coast sowed fear on Wednesday as the toll from Monday's disaster climbed to 550.

Rescuers pulled bodies from the debris and aid trickled into worst-hit Pangandaran town while a search continued for about 275 people still missing after the tsunami smashed into a 300-km (185 mile) stretch of coast along southern Java.

A light aftershock that shook Pangandaran beach sent some people running, while others headed inland on motorcycles and cars as rumours circulated of a fresh tsunami. Hours later, tall buildings swayed as an earthquake struck the Indonesian capital Jakarta and nearby parts of Java island, prompting people in several areas to flee from high-rise offices and homes.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. The quake's strength was 6.2 at its epicentre at the Indian Ocean end of the Sunda Strait off the southwestern tip of Java, said Fauzi, an official at the national earthquake centre.

Read the Full Article at Reuters AlertNet
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