Indonesian earthquake death toll rises to 310
The death toll from an earthquake that shook Indonesia’s main island of Java this week has risen to 310, the country’s national disaster mitigation agency said Friday, report AFP and Reuters.
The earthquake last Monday triggered landslides, collapsed roofs and walls and buried victims in mounds of earth.
The agency’s chief Suharyanto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said 24 people remain missing after the earthquake in the West Java town of Cianjur.
Meanwhile, a seven-year-old girl who was the subject of a day-long rescue effort has been found dead, rescuers said.
Emergency workers found the body of Ashika Nur Fauziah, also known as Cika, under rubble in Cianjur.
“The body was immediately handed over to the family,” 28-year-old rescuer Jeksen Kolibu said. “The family… was very sad.”
Dozens of rescuers had spent most of yesterday using digging tools, hammers and their bare hands to clear debris in the delicate mission, which was suspended overnight.
Cika was laid to rest at a nearby cemetery less than an hour after being found.
The focus of the search had been the girl’s grandmother’s house, across the road from the family home, where her mother believed she had been playing when the earthquake struck.
“She was playing outside, I was cooking in the kitchen, suddenly the earthquake happened, so fast, only two seconds, my house collapsed,” her mother Imas Masfahitah, 34, said.
Hopes of a happy outcome had been raised following the dramatic rescue of a six-year-old boy, Azka, on Wednesday, which was described as a “miracle” after he survived more than two days in the rubble without food or water.
Heavy rain and potentially deadly aftershocks have hampered the rescue effort.
Henri Alfiandi, head of the national search and rescue agency, said: “The problems are the unstable soil, the thickness of the landslide pile aggravated by continuous rain, and the concerns of aftershocks.”
He said the emergency period for the search and rescue effort would last a week until Monday and authorities would evaluate if it needed to be extended if all the missing had not been found.
Many of those killed in the quake were children, some in classes at school, according to officials.
More than 2,000 people were injured, 56,000 houses were damaged and more than 62,000 people were forced to evacuate to shelters, leaving many homeless without adequate supplies.
Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, where tectonic plates collide.