News ID: 109296
Publish Date : 22 November 2022 - 21:43

Indonesia Hunts for Survivors as Quake Toll Jumps

CIANJUR, Indonesia (AP) —
Indonesian rescuers used jackhammers, circular saws and sometimes their bare hands Tuesday to shift the rubble of flattened buildings as they searched for the dead and missing from an earthquake that killed at least 268 people.
With many missing, some remote areas still unreachable and more than 1,000 people injured in the 5.6 magnitude quake, the death toll was likely to rise. Hospitals near the epicenter on the densely populated island of Java were already overwhelmed, and patients hooked up to IV drips lay on stretchers and cots in tents set up outside, awaiting further treatment.
Indonesia is frequently hit by earthquakes, many much stronger than Monday’s whose magnitude would typically be expected to cause light damage. But experts said the shallowness of the quake and inadequate infrastructure contributed to the severe damage, including caved-in roofs and large piles of bricks, concrete, and corrugated metal.
The quake was centered on the rural, mountainous Cianjur district, where one woman said her home started “shaking like it was dancing.”
“I was crying and immediately grabbed my husband and children,” said Partinem, who like many Indonesians only goes by only one name. The house collapsed shortly after she escaped with her family.
More than 2.5 million people live in Cianjur district, including about 175,000 in the main town of the same name.
The quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) and also caused panic in the capital of Jakarta, about a three hour-drive away, where high-rises swayed and some people evacuated.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency head Suharyanto, who uses one name, told reporters that 1,083 people were injured and at least 151 missing. But not all of the dead have been identified, so it’s possible some the bodies pulled from the rubble are of people on the missing list.
Rescue operations were focused on about a dozen locations in Cianjur, where people are still believed trapped, said Endra Atmawidjaja, the public works and housing spokesperson.
“We are racing against time to rescue people,” Atmawidjaja said.
Initial rescue attempts were hampered by damaged roads and bridges and power outages, and a lack of equipment to help move the heavy rubble. By Tuesday, power supplies and phone communications had begun to improve, and Atmawidjaja said that seven excavators and 10 large trucks had been deployed from neighboring areas to clear roads.