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Villagers wait for treatments for their injuries at a tent hospital
Villagers wait to be treated for their injuries at a tent hospital near Yogyakarta, on May 28, 2006.
(Photo: Beawiharta/Reuters)

Shock Waves
By Genet Berhane

May 30, 2006—The eyes of the world are on Indonesia, as the country continues to assess the damage caused by an earthquake that struck early Saturday morning.

Area hospitals are overflowing with injured survivors, and the death toll is approaching 5,700. Countries around the world have promised millions in international aid, with many sending food, supplies, and workers to the region.

"Through financial and material support, the United States is assisting with recovery efforts, in coordination with Indonesian authorities," said President George W. Bush.

The earthquake, registered at 6.3 on the Richter scale, hit just before 6 a.m. Its epicenter was near Yogyakarta, which is on the Indonesian island of Java. Fearing that the quake might cause a tsunami, a number of residents headed for higher ground. Fortunately, their fears did not come true.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono quickly called on the military to help evacuate residents. On Tuesday, Yudhoyono visited areas that were hardest hit in order to monitor relief efforts. According to government officials, the disaster has left 100,000 people homeless and approximately 6,500 severely injured. The quake marks the biggest disaster to strike Indonesia since the tsunami of December 2004.

Area hospitals have reported that they are overburdened with victims in need of treatment. In order to treat these people, some hospitals have set up tents in their parking lots.

"There's a growing shortage of medical supplies—antibiotics, bandages—as the hospital becomes more and more crowded," said Susan Treadwell, a humanitarian aid worker in the region.

A Restless Volcano

In the days since the quake, rescue workers face a new threat: a restless volcano.

Scientists are concerned that the effects of Saturday's earthquake, and its aftershocks, will destabilize Mount Merapi—a volcano that has shown increased signs of activity in recent weeks. Since Saturday, the volcano has been spewing more and more hot clouds, sending volcanic rocks down its slopes. Experts fear that an eruption is near.

"Residents living in the danger areas on the slopes of the volcano have again begun to evacuate," said Subandriyo, director of the Merapi division of the Volcanology Center in Yogyakarta. "The danger is growing as activity increases."


American Red Cross: Youth Services
Visit this Web site to find out how kids your age can help when a disaster strikes.

American Students Respond
Kids across the United States figured out a way to help after a tsunami struck South Asia in December 2004. Read their stories—and use them as an inspiration to think of a way to help the victims of the earthquake in Indonesia.

Listen to what kids have to say about today's top stories.