Home South Africa Indonesian rescuers race to find victims of deadly earthquake – SABC News

Indonesian rescuers race to find victims of deadly earthquake – SABC News

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Indonesian rescuers scrambled to reach people still trapped in the rubble on Tuesday, a day after an earthquake devastated a city in West Java, killing at least 162 people and injuring hundreds, as officials warned that the death toll may increase.

The epicenter of the 5.6-magnitude shallow earthquake occurred on land near the city of Chanjur in the mountainous region of Indonesia’s most populous province.

Aftershocks on Monday afternoon sent panic-stricken residents running into the streets as buildings collapsed.

Many of the deaths were caused by falling buildings, Indonesia’s Meteorological and Geophysical Agency chief Dwikarita Karnawati said in a statement.

At night, the parking lot of a hospital in Chanjura was filled with victims, some treated in makeshift tents, others connected to intravenous drips on the pavement, while medical workers stitched up patients by torchlight.

“Everything collapsed under me and I was crushed under this child,” Kuku, a 48-year-old resident, told Reuters from the hospital’s crowded parking lot.

“Two of my children survived, I dug them up… I brought the other two here, and one is still missing,” she said through tears.

Hundreds of police officers were deployed to assist in the rescue efforts on Tuesday morning, national police spokesman Dedi Prosetio told the state-run Antara news agency.

“The main task of today’s personnel is to focus on the evacuation of the injured,” he said.​​

At least 162 people were killed in Monday’s earthquake, many of them children, and more than 300 were injured, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said, warning that some residents remained trapped in isolated locations.

Authorities were acting “on the assumption that the number of injured and killed will increase over time,” he said.

“The problem is that the affected area is widespread … In addition, the roads in these villages are damaged,” Henri Alfiandi, head of the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), said at a press conference.

“Most of the victims are children because they were still at school at 1 p.m.,” he said of the time of the earthquake.

Basarnos confirmed that 162 people had died and more than 13,000 had been evacuated.

The National Disaster Agency (BNPB) said 62 people had died, with 100 additional casualties yet to be confirmed.

The Cianjur police chief told Metro TV news channel that 20 people have been evacuated from Kugenang so far, most of them dead, and residents are still reporting missing family members.

The area was hit by a landslide triggered by the earthquake, which cut off access to the area on Monday.

Rescue operations were complicated by the blackout of electricity in some areas and 117 aftershocks.

The quake, which struck at a depth of just 10 km and was felt strongly in the capital Jakarta about 75 km away, damaged at least 2,200 houses and displaced more than 5,000 people, BNPB said.

Located on the so-called “Ring of Fire,” a highly seismically active zone where different plates of the Earth’s crust meet, Indonesia has a history of devastating earthquakes.

In 2004, a magnitude 9.1 earthquake off the island of Sumatra in northern Indonesia triggered a tsunami that hit 14 countries, killing 226,000 people along the Indian Ocean coast, more than half of them in Indonesia.

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