May 26, 2006

At least 15 dead, hundreds hurt in Indonesia quake

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia (Reuters) - An earthquake that shook
the area around Indonesia's ancient royal city of Yogyakarta
early on Saturday killed at least 15 people and left hundreds
injured, hospital staff said.

Yogyakarta is on Indonesia's main island of Java and near
Mount Merapi, a volcano that has been on top alert for a major
eruption this month, but a vulcanologist in Yogyakarta said the
quake was tectonic and not caused by the volcano.

In the town of Bantul, just south of Jakarta and a short
distance from Java's coast, hospital information officer Kardi
said: "At least 10 people are dead, hundreds are hurt."

Earlier a hospital nurse in Yogyakarta had reported at
least five deaths there from the quake, which happened just
before 6 a.m. (2300 GMT) and had a magnitude of 6.2 according
to the U.S. Geological Survey.

It was not immediately clear how the deaths happened, but
witnesses said many houses had collapsed.

Jakarta earthquake center official Fauzi put the strength
at 5.8 and said the epicenter was in the sea about 50 km (31
miles) south of Yogyakarta and had a depth of 33 km (21 miles).
Yogyakarta is about 25 km (16 miles) north of the Indian Ocean

There was no tsunami, he said.

Kardi said there was widespread panic in Bantul and a
desperate need for more doctors and nurses to treat the

A Reuters witness in Yogyakarta said many people there had
fled their homes while thousands of others from areas around
the city were trying to evacuate to it, many fearing a tsunami.

One Yogyakarta resident, Nani Kasidjo, said: "I was having
a morning walk and suddenly I felt dizzy and then people ran
out of their houses screaming earthquake."

Indonesia's national airlines, Garuda, said Yogyakarta's
airport was closed.

Roads leading to the coast are cracked and electricity was
off, witnesses said.