The death toll from the earthquake that shook the Indonesian island of Java leapt to at least 268 on Tuesday as more bodies were found beneath collapsed buildings.
The Cianjur regional disaster mitigation agency said on its Instagram site that the number of dead increased from 162 reported the night before. Another 151 people remain missing and more than 1,000 have been injured.
The city of Cianjur, south of Jakarta, was near the epicenter of the 5.6 magnitude earthquake that hit Monday afternoon. The temblor sent terrified residents fleeing into the streets, some covered in blood and debris, and caused buildings around the rural area to collapse.
With hospitals already overwhelmed, patients lay on stretchers and cots in tents set up outside, with intravenous drips in their arms as they awaited further treatment.
Many of the dead were public school students who had finished their classes for the day and were taking extra lessons at Islamic schools when the buildings collapsed, West Java Gov. Ridwan Kamil said.
Initial rescue attempts were hampered by damaged roads and bridges and power blackouts, and a lack of heavy equipment to help move the heavy concrete rubble. By Tuesday, power supplies and phone communications had begun to improve.
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, adding that seven excavators and 10 large trucks had been deployed from neighboring Bandung and Bogor cities to continue clearing trees and soil that blocked roads.
AFP.com, 22 Nov, 2022