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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
By Andi Jatmiko, Associated Press

Boy trapped under house for two days rescued from quake rubble

Women weep as the body of a family member killed in Monday’s earthquake is taken away for burial in Cianjur, West Java (AP)

A six-year-old Indonesian boy has been rescued after being trapped for two days under the rubble of his house after an earthquake that killed at least 271 people.

Heavy monsoon rains have led to a suspension of rescue efforts on the main island of Java, with the death toll likely to rise.

Many people are still missing, some badly-hit remote areas remain unreachable and more than 2,000 people were injured after Monday’s 5.6 magnitude quake.

Hospitals near the epicentre on the densely populated island of Java were already overwhelmed, with patients hooked up to IV drips lying on stretchers and cots in tents set up outside, awaiting further treatment.

Rescue operations were focused on about a dozen villages in Cianjur (Tatan Syuflana/AP)

It was the deadliest earthquake in Indonesia since a 2018 quake and tsunami in Sulawesi killed about 4,340 people.

Many of the dead in this week’s earthquake were school students who had finished their classes for the day and were taking extra lessons at Islamic schools when the buildings collapsed, West Java governor Ridwan Kamil said.

Suharyanto, chief of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said more than 12,000 army personnel were deployed to bolster search efforts by police, the search and rescue agency and volunteers.

He said aid was reaching thousands of people left homeless who fled to temporary shelters, where supplies were being taken by foot over the rough terrain.

Suharyanto – who like many people in Indonesia goes by one name – said rescuers recovered three more bodies on Wednesday and rescued the six-year-old boy, who was found alive next to the dead body of his grandmother under the rubble of his house.

Rescuers search for victims of an earthquake-triggered landslide in Cianjur (AP)

Police, soldiers and other rescue personnel used jackhammers, circular saws, farm tools and their bare hands to desperately dig in the worst-hit area of Cijendil village, where a landslide left debris including tonnes of mud, rocks and trees.

The government appeared to be focused on finding bodies, and wherever possible, survivors. Authorities struggled to bring tractors and other heavy equipment over washed-out roads to villages hit by landslides.

Residents, however, complained the government was too slow.

In several hard-hit areas, water, food and medical supplies were being distributed from trucks, and authorities deployed military personnel carrying food, medicine, blankets and field tents.

Volunteers and rescue personnel erected temporary shelters for those left homeless in several villages in Cianjur district.

Rescuers search for victims under the rubble of a building (AP)

About 6,000 police, soldiers and volunteers dug through the debris with their bare hands, shovels and hoes as heavy rain hindered their efforts.

Arif Yulianto, a search and rescue coordinator, said they were forced to halt their efforts on Wednesday afternoon because the rain made the landslide areas unstable. He said the search would resume early on Thursday.

Suharyanto said 2,043 people were injured, including more than 600 who were still receiving treatment for serious injuries, and that nearly 62,000 survivors had been moved to shelters.

About 40 people remained missing, Suharyanto said at a news conference. Rescue operations are focused on about a dozen villages in Cianjur where people are believed to be trapped.

More than 56,230 houses in Cianjur were damaged and more than 170 public buildings were destroyed, including 31 schools, he said.

About 100 of the 271 confirmed victims were children, Suharyanto said.

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