updated 2/7/2004 1:32:20 AM ET 2004-02-07T06:32:20

Rescuers struggled to get relief supplies and search crews to an Indonesian town devastated by an earthquake, but a massive aftershock on Saturday and damage to the local airstrip hampered efforts. The death toll rose to 34, with hundreds injured.

A powerful temblor, measured at magnitude 7.1 by the U.S. Geological Survey, struck the area shortly before noon Saturday, but more details were not immediately available.

"The event was shallow, occurring within the earth's crust and would have been felt over a wide area and caused further damage to yesterday's event," said a statement by Geoscience Australia, which recorded the aftershock at magnitude 7.2.

Survivors gave harrowing accounts of the earlier quake, which devastated Nabire in Indonesia's Papua province early Friday.

'I'm really traumatized'
A local nurse, who said she had access to casualty figures, said 34 people had died including a mother and a 2-year-old child, who were crushed under a cupboard and piles of rubble.

Nurse Itje Wanaha spoke by phone to The Associated Press from the worse hit town of Nabire.

"It was the biggest earthquake I've ever felt in my entire life," Wanaha said. "I'm really traumatized."

"Everything crashed on the floor. I ran out praying for my life. The land shook as if it was the sea with huge waves," said Wanaha, whose leg was injured by fallen furniture.

The quake damaged a bridge, churches, mosques, roads and buildings, said Arif Sukanto, an official from the National Coordinating Board for the Management of Disaster in Jakarta.

However, he gave a different death toll of 25 people dead.

The local airport was also damaged and could only be used for light, single-engine aircraft, slowing down efforts to evacuate the victims and fly in supplies and emergency equipment, Sukanto said.

Two pipelines at a petrochemical storage depot were said to be ruptured, but no leaks were reported, he said.

Papua governor Jacob Solossa was scheduled to inspected the area late Saturday.

Nabire is on the northern coast of Papua, 2,000 miles northeast of Jakarta. The province, formerly known as Irian Jaya, occupies the western half of New Guinea island.

The quake leveled up to 500 houses -- mostly built from wood, bamboo and thatch -- in Nabire and the nearby towns of Enarotali and Manokwari.

Seismologists said they believed the slight difference in the reporting of time and magnitude of the quake was due to differences in the calibration of their respective equipment.

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago of 17,000 islands, is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries.

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