Hundreds dead as earthquake rocks Indonesia

A powerful earthquake rocked Indonesia’s Central Java province early on Saturday, flattening buildings and killing at least 309 people, hospitals and officials said. Scores of other people were injured.

The 6,2-magnitude quake also triggered heightened activity in the region’s deadly Mount Merapi volcano, which has been spewing out clouds of hot ash, gas and lava for several weeks, a scientist said.

The quake struck at 5.54am (23.54pm GMT), 25km south-west of the city of Yogyakarta, causing damage and casualties there and in at least two other nearby towns, officials said.

Five and half hours after the quake struck, at least 309 bodies were lying in seven hospitals in the region, and more injured and dead people were still arriving, according to morgue officials contacted by the Associated Press by telephone.

“Please tell the central government to send help, we need help here,” said Kusmarwanto of Bantul Muhammadiyah Hospital, the closest hospital to the quake’s epicentre.

“There so many casualties. Houses ...
are flattened. Many people still need to be evacuated,” he said, adding that his hospital alone had 39 dead bodies and that numbers were rising. - Sapa-AP

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