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Swiss on standby to help Indonesia

Switzerland is ready to offer aid to Indonesia, which has been struck by a series of devastating earthquakes.

On Thursday morning a tremor measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale hit Sumatra, a day after another very powerful quake hit the island.

A Swiss foreign ministry spokesman told the Associated Press news agency on Wednesday evening that the humanitarian assistance services were prepared and that contact had been made with the Indonesian authorities.

If the offer is accepted by Indonesia, Swiss aid will be activated, he added.

The Indonesian authorities said on Thursday that the death toll from Wednesday's 7.6 magnitude earthquake had risen to more than 450 people. Rescue workers expect the numbers to rise. and agencies