WASHINGTON – The United States has again upped its contribution for assistance to victims of this weekend's devastating earthquake in Indonesia, allocating $5 million in emergency aid, the White House said Tuesday.
The Bush administration initially announced $500,000 in aid after the quake struck early Saturday, and by the end of the day had increased that amount to $2.5 million.
The United States has also sent a medical team of Marines from Japan to help with the response. A disaster assistance response team from the U.S. Agency for International Development is being readied and the amphibious assault ship USS Essex, which has extensive medical facilities, is en route to the affected area, White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said.
"We are continuing to assess further needs and are prepared to help our Indonesian friends in any way that we can," she said.
President Bush spoke by phone Saturday night with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The magnitude-6.3 quake killed more than 3,500 people, injured thousands more and left about 200,000 homeless. It was the latest in a series of problems in Indonesia, from the 2004 tsunami that ravaged Aceh province to a widening bird flu outbreak to the threat of eruption from nearby Mount Merapi.