(CTN News) – A day after an earthquake destroyed a West Java town, killing at least 162 people and injuring hundreds more, Indonesian rescue workers rushed to reach residents still trapped in the wreckage as authorities feared the death toll might grow.
The shallow 5.6-magnitude earthquake’s epicentre was located on land near Cianjur in a hilly region of Indonesia’s most populated province. Buildings crumbled due to the earthquake on Monday afternoon, sending terrified inhabitants into the streets.
According to a statement from Dwikorita Karnawati, the director of Indonesia’s meteorological and geophysics department, many deaths were brought on by fallen structures.
Overnight, casualties poured into the parking lot of a hospital in Cianjur, where some were treated in improvised tents, and others were hooked up to intravenous drips on the ground while doctors and nurses stitched up patients by the light of torches.
From the busy hospital parking lot, Cucu, a 48-year-old local, told BBC, “everything fell under me, and this kid crushed me.”
“I found two of my kids who had survived. I brought two more here, but one is still missing, “She added while crying.
On Tuesday morning, Dedi Prasetyo, a national police spokeswoman, said the official news agency Antara said that hundreds of police personnel had been sent to help with rescue attempts.
He added that the key objective for the staff today is to concentrate on evacuating casualties.
Death toll from 5.6-magnitude earthquake reaches 162
West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said the earthquake on Monday left at least 162 dead, many children, and more than 300 wounded. He also warned that some inhabitants could still be stuck in remote areas.
According to him, authorities acted “on the premise that the number of wounded and fatalities would increase over time”.
“The problem is that the impacted region is large. Additionally, the roads in these areas have deteriorated, “The National Search and Rescue Agency’s (Basarnas) Henri Alfiandi remarked at a press conference.
Since kids were still in school at 1pm when the earthquake struck, he said that children make up most of the deaths.
More than 13,000 people had been evacuated, and Basarnas reported 162 fatalities.
The national disaster agency (BNPB) reported 62 fatalities and claimed it had not yet confirmed the other 100 casualties.
According to the police commander for Cianjur, 20 individuals have already been evacuated from Cugenang, most of whom have perished, and locals are still reporting missing family members.
A landslide that occurred in the region due to the earthquake prevented access to the area.
Many victims were children killed by collapsed buildings
Zainuddin, a native from Cugenang, said, “At least six of my relatives—three adults and three children—are still missing.”
“Houses would fall if there were merely an earthquake, but this is worse because of the landslide. There were eight homes in this neighbourhood, all of which had been submerged and washed away.”
117 aftershocks and partial power outages hindered the rescue attempts.
According to the BNPB, the earthquake, which occurred at a depth of barely 10 km (6.2 miles) and was strongly felt 75 km distant in Jakarta, destroyed at least 2,200 dwellings and forced more than 5,000 people from their homes.
Indonesia has a history of deadly earthquakes because it is situated on the “Ring of Fire,” a region of the earth’s crust that is very seismically active.
In 2004, a tsunami that slammed 14 nations and killed 226,000 people along the Indian Ocean coastline—more than half of them in Indonesia—was caused by a 9.1 magnitude earthquake that occurred off the northern Indonesian island of Sumatra.
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