Rescuers search for survivors among rubble as Indonesia’s death toll rises to 252

Rescuers search for survivors among rubble as Indonesia’s death toll rises to 252


Most of the victims are children because, at the time of the earthquake, they were still in school.

Two emergency workers remove the body of an earthquake victim in Cianjur.
Two emergency workers remove the body of an earthquake victim in Cianjur.AFP

Rescuers continue to remove body bags that were trapped in the collapsed buildings. There are still many bodies under the rubble. The death toll continues to rise: 252, after the earthquake that shook the Indonesian province of West Java on Monday afternoon. The dead increase, but so does the survivor count. still remain high hopes for Indonesians who pray to find their missing relatives alive.

Dimas Reviansyah, one of the rescuers who has been working tirelessly since Monday, told the AFP agency that the teams are using chainsaws and excavators to push through fallen trees and rubble. Landslides blocked several access areas of Cianjur, the hardest-hit mountain city close to the quake’s epicenter, home to nearly 170,000 people.

After the 5.6 magnitude earthquake they reached up to 117 aftershocks which made rescue efforts difficult. In an Instagram post on Tuesday, the local government said 252 people were confirmed dead, 31 missing, 377 injured, 13,000 evacuated and 7,060 displaced.

At least 2,200 houses have been damagedSome of them completely destroyed. “Many of the deaths were caused by falling buildings,” the head of Indonesia’s meteorology and geophysics agency, Dwikorita Karnawati, said in a statement.

After the earthquake, in many streets of Cianjur they raised makeshift field hospitals to attend to the injured, with survivors lying on the asphalt connected to intravenous drips, while the toilets sewed up patients under candlelight and torches because the quake cut almost 90% of the electricity in the city. At a local hospital, overwhelmed by the number of patients, the wounded lay on the floor on mattresses and blankets.

“The challenge is that the affected area is very dispersed. On top of that, the roads in these places are damaged and it is not easy to access,” explained Henri Alfiandi, head of the National Search and Rescue Agency. The Red Cross deployed health workers and police on motorcycles to reach four of the most affected areas, about an hour from the main city, because it was impossible to access by any other vehicle after the landslides.

“Most victims are children because at 1:00 p.m. -the time of the earthquake- they were still at school,” Alfiandi said. Several of the deceased are minors who lived in an Islamic boarding school that collapsed due to landslides.

“The room collapsed and my legs were buried in the rubble. It all happened so fast,” one of the survivors, 14-year-old student Aprizal Mulyadi, told AFP. Many other schools were also damaged. According to data cited by Save the Children, there would be dozens of victims who were in 51 educational centers affected by the earthquake.

Home to more than 270 million people and a tragic record of natural tragedies, Indonesia is frequently hit by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis due to its location on the so-called “ring of fire”, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines. with strong tectonic activity in the Pacific basin. Magnitude 6 or 7 earthquakes are common offshore, where fault lines extend, but Monday’s shock was so deadly because, in this case, it struck ashore and struck relatively shallow, at 10 kilometres.

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