Death till from Indonesian earthquake rises to 162

A view of a collapsed school building following the earthquake in Cianjur. (Photo: Reuters)

Concerns persist that schoolchildren are buried under rubble after a powerful earthquake on Java, the main island of Indonesia, which killed 162 people and injured hundreds, including several children.

Tuesday, Indonesian rescue workers raced to reach people still buried under the rubble, with hundreds of police deployed to assist.

The epicenter of Monday's shallow 5.6-magnitude earthquake was near the town of Cianjur in Indonesia's most populous province, West Java, where buildings collapsed and triggered landslides that killed the majority of the victims.

Some of the victims were students at an Islamic boarding school, while others were killed in their own homes by collapsing roofs and walls.

"The room collapsed, burying my legs beneath the rubble. "Everything happened so quickly," Aprizal Mulyadi, a 14-year-old student, told AFP.

The student stated that he was rescued by his friend Zulfikar, who later perished after becoming entombed under debris.

"I was heartbroken to see him in such a state, but I was unable to assist him due to injuries to my legs and back," he said.

Initial reports indicated that one teacher and one student perished in the disaster, while nine others were seriously injured and dozens were trapped, but the situation was rapidly evolving.

30 elementary schools, 12 junior high schools, one high school, five vocational schools, and one particular school have reportedly been affected, according to preliminary data from Indonesian authorities.

Mia Sahara, a teacher at SMP Junior High School, stated that children cried out in terror when the earthquake struck during class.

"As it occurred in the middle of the learning process, it was a shock to us all," she said.

"As we gathered in the field, children were terrified and weeping out of concern for their families at home. We embrace one another, support one another, and continue to pray."

The search operation has been made more difficult by severed road connections and power outages in portions of the predominantly rural, mountainous region.

Tuesday, dozens of rescue workers in the village of Cugenang used heavy machinery to attempt to clear the road to Cianjur, which had been blocked by a landslide.

As body bags emerged from collapsed buildings, attention shifted to the missing and any survivors hiding beneath the debris.

As darkness fell on Monday, the national disaster mitigation agency of Indonesia, or BNPB, reported that at least 25 people were still buried under the rubble in Cianjur.

Those who survived camped outside in near-total darkness, surrounded by broken glass and large chunks of concrete.

Overnight, the parking lot of a hospital in Cianjur was flooded with victims, some of whom were treated in makeshift tents. In contrast, others were hooked up to intravenous drips on the asphalt and medical personnel stitched up patients by the light of torches.

Cucu, a 48-year-old local, told Reuters from the crowded hospital parking lot, "Everything collapsed beneath me and I was crushed beneath this child."

"I dug up my two surviving children... I brought two others with me, but one is still missing," she said in tears.

Publish : 2022-11-22 15:03:00

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