Aftershocks, heavy rain hamper Indonesia earthquake rescuers
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[November 23, 2022]
By Stefanno Sulaiman
CIANJUR, Indonesia (Reuters) -Driving rain and the danger of landslides
disrupted work of Indonesian rescue workers searching on Wednesday for
survivors of an earthquake that killed 271 people, with an official
warning that time was running out for anyone trapped in rubble.
Monday's 5.6-magnitude quake caused extensive damage in the town of
Cianjur, in mountains about 75 km (45 miles) south of the capital,
Jakarta. 40 people remained missing.
Recovery efforts on a rainy Wednesday focussed on Cugenang, one of the
worst-hit districts, where at least one village is believed to have been
buried under a landslide.
Helicopters were due to drop food and water to two villages that could
not be reached by road, said Henri Alfiandi, chief of the search and
He said the chances of anyone trapped in rubble surviving three days
after the quake were increasingly slim but the danger of aftershocks
triggering more landslides down rain-soaked slopes had delayed his
"Because the quake was quite strong and raining, we feared there would
be landslides. But we have continued the evacuation process now," Henri
Ai Nurjanah, 48, said she was trapped under fallen concrete for about 15
minutes after the quake, while shielding her 4-year-old daughter under
her. They were having a having a nap when the quake hit.
"I keep shouting for help until I ran out of voice. My daughter was
crying, 'Mama, it's dark, I can't breathe'," she told Reuters while
waiting to be treated for her injuries at a hospital.
Authorities were working to bring in more heavy machinery to clear the
landslides. Around 6,000 rescuers have been dispatched, said the
disaster mitigation agency.
Officials said there had been more than 170 aftershocks including a 3.9
magnitude one on Wednesday afternoon.
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A damaged house is pictured after an
earthquake in Cianjur, West Java province, Indonesia, November 22,
2022. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana
As the search continued, rescuers pulled out a 5-year-old boy from
the rubble, who had survived because he was protected by a mattress.
In a video of the rescue posted by a local fire department, Azka,
who had been trapped for two days, appeared conscious and calm as he
was lifted to safety.
"(Azka) is fine now, not wounded. The doctor said he's only weak
because he's hungry," said his relative Salman Alfarisi, 22, while
holding Azka's hand at a makeshift tent in the hospital parking lot,
adding his mother had died.
"He wants to go home now. He's been asking for his mother while
At a Cianjur hospital, patients were being treated outside in tents
due to the fear of aftershocks, a member of staff said.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said there was an urgent need
for extra help for patients in quake-damaged hospitals.
Indonesia is one of the world's most earthquake-prone nations,
regularly recording strong earthquakes offshore where fault lines
But Monday's quake was so deadly because it struck a densely
populated area at a shallow depth of just 10 km (6 miles).
Poor building standards led to many deaths, officials said.
President Joko Widodo called for earthquake-proof housing to be
included in reconstruction efforts when he visited the disaster zone
(Additional reporting by Ananda Teresia and Gayatri Suroyo; Writing
by Kate Lamb and Stanley Widianto; Editing by Ed Davies, Clarence
Fernandez and Tomasz Janowski)
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