Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Grim hunt amid Indonesian quake rubble

Indonesian rescue workers have pulled bodies from village homes buried in a landslide triggered by a powerful earthquake that severely damaged more than 10,000 buildings across West Java. The death toll rose to 57.

At least 110 people were treated in hospital with injuries from Tuesday's 7.0 magnitude quake, centred just off the coast of the densely populated island, Disaster Management Agency spokesman Priyadi Kardono said. Ten were in critical condition.

More than 24,800 homes, offices, schools and mosques were damaged, about 10,000 seriously, the Disaster Management Agency said on its website.

At least 3,100 people were forced into temporary shelters, and the Red Cross said it had distributed 1,500 tents, as well as blankets, clean water and other provisions.

Some rural areas could not be reached by telephone and there may be more victims and damage, officials said.

Many of the deaths and injuries were caused by falling debris or collapsed structures.

The death toll continued to rise yesterday as more bodies were found in Cianjur district, where a landslide buried a row of homes in the village of Cikangkareng. Villagers were searching for more than 30 friends and relatives listed as missing and feared dead.

“Everything is gone, my wife, my old father-in-law and my house ... now I just hope to find the bodies of my family,” 34-year-old farmer Ahmad Suhana said as he pried at giant stones with a crowbar.

Police, military personnel and villagers used their hands to remove rubble.

When the quake struck , it was felt hundreds of miles away on the neighbouring resort island of Bali.

In the capital, Jakarta, 125 miles north of the underwater epicentre of the quake, thousands of panicked office workers flooded out of swaying skyscrapers onto the streets, some of them screaming.

A tsunami warning was issued after the quake but was lifted an hour later. Several dozen aftershocks were measured by geological agencies.

Hospitals in towns and cities across West Java quickly filled with scores of injured people, most with broken bones and cuts.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago, straddles continental plates and is prone to seismic activity along what is known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.

A huge quake off western Indonesia caused a powerful tsunami in December 2004 that killed about 230,000 people in a dozen countries, half of them in Aceh province.

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