CHINA / National

Indonesia toll nears 6,000; China offers aid worth $1.25m
Updated: 2006-05-30 21:04


In Bantul town, Muhadi, 55, wearing a black Muslim cap, said he had been back in business since Monday selling rice in his 4-square-metre kiosk.

"Yesterday I opened the shop. It's better than staying at home doing nothing, (though) there were only a few buyers."

The tremor early on Saturday was centred just off the Indian Ocean coast near Yogyakarta, the former Javanese royal capital.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who moved his office temporarily to Yogyakarta, vowed late on Monday all relief funds would be spent on quake victims.

Indonesia is notorious for endemic corruption. The government has set aside relief funds of 100 billion rupiah ($10.86 million) from now till August. A year of reconstruction and rehabilitation will begin after August, costing the government 1.1 trillion rupiah, he added.

The quake was the latest misfortune to hit the world's fourth-most populated country after Islamic militant bombings, bird flu outbreaks and the massive 2004 quake and tsunami.

The quake initially heightened activity at nearby Mount Merapi volcano -- already sporadically spouting for weeks -- sparking fear of an imminent massive eruption.

But vulcanologist Subandrio, a Merapi expert, told Reuters: "Today's activities are relatively lower compared to yesterday. The maximum range of the hot ashes today is 3 km (2 miles)."

He cautioned that it was still uncertain how the quake affected volcano.

Indonesia sits on the Asia-Pacific's so-called "Ring of Fire," which is marked by heavy volcanic and tectonic activity. The December 26, 2004, quake and its resulting tsunami, left some 170,000 people dead or missing around Aceh.

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