Heavy rain and the threat of landslides hampered the work of Indonesian rescue workers searching for survivors of Wednesday’s earthquake that killed 271 people, with an official warning that time was running out for those trapped .
As the search continued, rescue workers pulled a five-year-old child from the wreckage, who survived after being secured by a mattress.
In a video of the rescue posted by the local fire department, Azka, who had been trapped for two days, appeared conscious and calm as she was lifted to safety.
,[Azka] She’s fine now, not injured,” said her 22-year-old relative Salman Alfarisi, holding Azka’s hand in a makeshift tent in the hospital car park, adding that her mother had died. “The doctor said she only He is weak because he is hungry.
“He wants to go home now. He’s asking for his mother.
Monday’s magnitude 5.6 earthquake caused widespread damage in the city of Cianjur, located in the mountains about 45 miles (75 km) south of the capital Jakarta, with 40 people still missing. Recovery efforts were focused on Kugenang, one of the most affected districts, where at least one village is believed to have been buried under the landslide.
According to the head of the search and rescue agency, Henri Alfiandi, the helicopters were due to drop food and water to two villages that could not be reached by road. He said the prospect of anyone being trapped under rubble was getting smaller three days after the quake and the threat of more landslides on rain-soaked slopes from the aftershocks had delayed his teams.
“Since the earthquake was strong and it was raining, we were afraid that there would be a landslide,” he said. “But we have just continued the evacuation process.”
Aye Narjanah, 48, said she was trapped under the fallen concrete for about 15 minutes after the quake, while shielding her four-year-old daughter. He was taking a nap at the time of the earthquake.
“I screamed for help until I lost my voice,” she said. “My daughter was crying: ‘Mom, it’s dark, I can’t breathe.’
Officials were working to bring in more heavy machinery to clear the landslide. The Disaster Mitigation Agency said about 6,000 rescue workers had been dispatched. Officials said more than 170 aftershocks were felt, including a 3.9-magnitude tremor on Wednesday afternoon.
A member of the staff said that patients are being treated in tents at the Cianjur hospital out of fear of aftershocks.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said there was an urgent need for extra help for patients in earthquake-damaged hospitals. Indonesia is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries, with strong earthquakes regularly recorded offshore where fault lines run.
Monday’s quake was so deadly because it struck at a shallow depth of just 10 km in a densely populated area. Officials said that many of the deaths were caused by poor building standards. Indonesian President, Joko Widodo called for earthquake-proof housing to be included in reconstruction efforts while visiting the disaster area on Tuesday.
According to Denny Kurniawan, a rescue team leader with the Jakarta-based NGO Human Initiative, rescuers hope to pull more survivors from the rubble, but they are “running against the clock”.
“We hope that we will [have] More miracles,” he said. “Yesterday we were told that a pregnant woman was inside her house. Our team found her, but we lost both her and the child. This is indeed a very disturbing situation.
“The earthquake struck during the day when mothers and children were at home, and fathers were working in the rice fields. Most of the dead are mothers and children.”
While the magnitude would generally be expected to cause light damage to buildings and other structures, experts say proximity to fault lines, the earthquake’s shallowness and inadequate infrastructure that cannot withstand earthquakes all contributed to contributed to the loss.
Carlo Purba, Indonesia program director for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), said rescuers were struggling to reach damaged areas of the mountainous region, some of which were inaccessible by car.
“The government is warning that there will be heavy rains. There could potentially be landslides and flooding in some areas,” he said.
He said that about 22,000 families whose houses were badly damaged were in need of emergency tents. “We are looking for 300 families to support initially so that they can make proper tents,” he said.
He said ADRA would release information on how to save, not destroy, damaged homes. “Once people destroy their damaged home, they will need to rely 100% on the government to rebuild it, but it will take time, maybe a year, to get the money.
“But the problem is bad construction. Earthquakes don’t kill, bad buildings do.”