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At Least 300 Dead After Indonesian Earthquake - 2005-03-29


Indonesian officials say at least 300 people are confirmed dead after Monday's massive earthquake off northern Sumatra, but they fear the final toll could be ten times that.

Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla told a local radio station that between one thousand and two thousand people may have been killed in the earthquake, based on the number of buildings damaged.

The magnitude 8.7 quake was centered some 30 kilometers under the ocean, near the island of Nias off the west coast of Sumatra.

The quake occurred approximately 200 kilometers southeast of the epicenter of the December 26th earthquake that triggered a massive tsunami, killing nearly 300,000 people across southeast Asia.

Monday's quake caused extensive damage on Nias. Officials say 80 percent of the buildings in the island's main city of Gunungsitoli may have been destroyed .

The quake triggered tsunami warnings in Indonesia, Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka and India. The warnings were canceled early Tuesday morning.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is postponing his planned state visit to Australia this week to survey the damage in Nias Island.

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