May 29, 2006

THE JAVA EARTHQUAKE NEWS just gets worse:

Homeless earthquake survivors living in rice fields and makeshift shacks begged for food and water under a blazing sun Monday as Indonesia’s death toll rose to over 5,000.

Soldiers began delivering bags of rice to village chiefs in the mountainous quake zone on the island of Java, but survivors called the aid meager and slow. The United Nations planned a global appeal, saying relief money was running low.

“We have 300 families in this village and have only gotten two sacks of rice,” said Lastri, 27, holding a 5-month-old. “It’s not enough.”

Indonesia’s Social Affairs Ministry raised the death toll to 5,137, saying some 800 bodies that were buried in mass graves immediately after the quake had just been counted. . . . The country also is battling a bird flu crisis and a spate of terror attacks by al-Qaida-linked Islamic militants.

Here’s a list of charities if you’d like to help.