Driving rains and the risk of landslides disrupted the work of Indonesian rescuers searching for survivors of Wednesday’s earthquake that killed 271 people, with official warnings that time was running out for anyone trapped.
As the search continued, rescuers pulled a five-year-old boy from the rubble, who survived because he was protected by a mattress.
In a rescue video released by the local fire department, Aska, who had been trapped for two days, appeared conscious and calm as she was lifted to safety.
“[Azka] It’s fine now, no injury,” said her cousin Salman Alfarizi, 22, holding Aska’s hand in a makeshift tent in the hospital car park, where her mother died. “The doctor said he was weak because he was hungry.
“He wants to go home now. He’s listening to his mother.
Monday’s 5.6-magnitude earthquake caused extensive damage in the town of Cianjur, 45 miles (75 km) south of the capital Jakarta, with 40 people still missing. Rescue efforts have focused on one of the worst-hit districts, Gukenang, where at least one village is believed to have been buried under the landslide.
Helicopters had to deliver food and water to two villages that could not be reached by road, said Henry Alfianti, head of the search and rescue organization. He said the chances of survival for anyone trapped in the rubble three days after the quake were increasingly slim, and the risk of aftershocks triggering landslides on rain-soaked slopes had delayed his teams.
“Because the earthquake was so strong and it was raining, we feared a landslide,” he said. “But we have now continued the evacuation process.”
Ai Noorjana, 48, said she was trapped under falling concrete for 15 minutes after the quake, while shielding her four-year-old daughter beneath her. They were sleeping when the earthquake struck.
“I keep screaming for help until I lose my voice,” she said. “My daughter was crying: ‘Mom, it’s getting dark, I can’t breathe.
Officials are busy bringing more heavy machinery to clear the landslide. About 6,000 rescue workers have been dispatched, the disaster management agency said. More than 170 aftershocks, including a magnitude 3.9, were reported Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
At Cianjur Hospital, patients are being treated outside in tents due to fear of repercussions, a staff member said.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadiqin said patients in earthquake-damaged hospitals need more help. Indonesia is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world, often recording strong earthquakes at sea.
Monday’s earthquake was particularly dangerous because it struck at a depth of 10 kilometers in a densely populated area. Poor building quality has led to many deaths, officials said. Indonesian President Joko Widodo called for earthquake-proof housing to be included in reconstruction efforts as he visited the disaster zone on Tuesday.
Rescuers hope to pull more survivors from the rubble, but they are “running against the clock,” according to Deni Kurniawan, head of the rescue team at the Jakarta-based NGO Human Initiative.
“We hope to do so [have] And miracles,” he said. “Yesterday we were informed that a pregnant woman was inside her house. Our team found her, but we lost her and the baby. It was a very painful situation.
“The mother and children were at home and the fathers were working in the paddy fields when the earthquake hit. Most of the victims were mothers and children.
While this magnitude would normally be expected to cause light damage to buildings and other structures, experts believe the proximity to fault lines, the shallowness of the quake and insufficient infrastructure to withstand earthquakes contributed to the damage.
Rescuers were struggling to reach damaged pockets of the mountain, some of which were inaccessible by car, said Carlo Burba, Indonesia program director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).
“The government is warning that there will be heavy rains. Landslides and flash floods are likely to occur in some areas, he said.
He added that around 22,000 families whose houses were badly damaged needed emergency tents. “We are looking for 300 families to support initially so they can build proper tents,” he said.
ADRA will publish information on saving and not destroying damaged homes, he said. “Once people destroy their damaged house, they have to rely 100% on the government to rebuild it, but it can take a year to get the funds.
“But the problem is poor construction. Earthquakes Don’t kill, poor buildings kill.”
“Friend of animals everywhere. Devoted analyst. Total alcohol scholar. Infuriatingly humble food trailblazer.”