22 Nations Help With Indonesian Quake

Hopes of finding more survivors in the rubble of Indonesia's devastating earthquake waned Tuesday, as an emergency relief operation involving 22 countries picked up pace to help 200,000 people left homeless.

The airport in the historic city of Yogjakarta, the one closest to the area worst hit by Saturday's quake that killed nearly 5,700 people, reopened after cracks in the runway were repaired. Two U.S. Marines cargo planes were among the first aid flights to land.

CountryWatch: Indonesia

Most of the survivors of Saturday's 6.3-magnitude quake were living in improvised shacks close to their demolished homes or in shelters erected in rice fields.

Getting food and fresh water remained a pressing concern, and thousands of people have taken to begging for cash and supplies along roadways.

Mount Merapi, a nearby volcano that was erupting at a low level before the quake hit and where activity has increased since, continued to spit hot ash and gas into the air.

But the threat of a health crisis seemed to be easing, as medical aid began arriving and construction began on several military field hospitals.

The Asian Development Bank announced Tuesday a total of US$60 million (euro47 million) in grants and low-interest loans to Indonesia for rebuilding costs in the earthquake zone.

About 20 U.S. Marines arrived on two military cargo planes in Yogyakarta and unloaded heavy lifting machinery and a portable field hospital.

A 44-member team of doctors, search and rescue workers and seismologists from China arrived with 5 tons of supplies including a field hospital, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Thailand said it would send 48 military medical personnel along with medicine and equipment.

Teams from Malaysia, Singapore and other nations are already working in the area.

Abdul Aziz Ahmad, the head of a Malaysia search and rescue team, said hope had faded of finding more survivors or bodies.

"The collapsed homes were all so small that anyone who was trapped would have been extracted by their family members," Abdul said. His team conducted a full day's search in Bantul on Monday and found only one body.

The quake pounded tens of thousands of homes into piles of bricks, tiles and wood in less than a minute, as many victims slept or were preparing breakfast.

The death toll from the government's Social Affairs Ministry on Tuesday stood at 5,698. Ministry officials say the numbers keep rising as they account for bodies buried quickly in mass graves after the quake.

Hospitals were initially overwhelmed with the injured, who overflowed into hallways and outdoor spaces. At two hospitals in Bantul on Tuesday, most patients now warded in beds.

Handoyo, a 60-year-old rice farmer, had his right leg amputated below the knee after enduring 48 hours with only minimal treatment after being crushed in his collapsing house.

"I was taken to three different hospitals before being taken in here," Handoyo, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, said from his bed in Solo, a city close to the earthquake hit region.

"There were too many victims and it was a little bit late. My right leg kept bleeding for more than two days, until it became rotten," he said. "I cannot say anything other than accept my destiny."

As the international aid operation increased, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who has temporarily moved his office to the region, vowed that the government would not tolerate any siphoning off of aid money.

"I am ordering that not even one dollar will be misused," he said late Monday.

Indonesia is one of the most graft-ridden countries in the world, and local government officials are considered especially prone to stealing state funds.

Yudhoyono's efforts will likely come under intense domestic scrutiny because unlike other disasters in recent years in outlying regions, including the 2004 Asian tsunami, the quake occurred on Java Island, home to almost half of the country's 220 million people, including the bulk of the country's ruling class.

Some 22 countries have contributed or pledged assistance to the Southeast Asian country, the U.N. has said. An emergency appeal by the global body is expected later this week.

The quake was the fourth destructive temblor to hit Indonesia in the past 17 months, including the one that spawned the Dec. 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami that left at least 216,000 dead or missing.