Indonesia earthquake: Injured treated in car parks as 268 confirmed dead

Hundreds have been injured and the death toll is expected to rise

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The search for survivors in Indonesia is continuing on Tuesday, a day after a magnitude-5.6 earthquake struck near the town of West Java, killing at least 268 people.

Hundreds have been injured and the death toll is expected to rise, local government said. Hospitals in the Cianjur district have been overwhelmed, and an estimated 2,000 homes have been destroyed.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said 151 people are still missing and 1,083 were injured in the quake.

Many patients are being treated in tents and doctors are struggling with power shortages, often working by torchlight. Other victims have been treated in car parks, the local authorities said.

Many of the dead were killed in landslides or when their homes collapsed, said Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency.

Searches are continuing for people thought to be trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings, an effort being hampered by dozens of aftershocks, the authorities said.

Indonesia’s bureau of meteorology has also warned that more landslides can be expected.

"Everything collapsed beneath me and I was crushed beneath this child," Cucu, a 48-year-old resident, told Reuters, from the crowded hospital car park.

"Two of my kids survived, I dug them up ... Two others I brought here, and one is still missing," she said through tears.

On Tuesday morning, hundreds of police officers had been sent to assist the rescue efforts, said police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo.

"Today's main task order for personnel is to focus on evacuating victims," he told the Antara state news agency. ​​

The authorities were operating "under the assumption that the number of injured and dead will rise with time", he said.

Henri Alfiandi, head of the National Search and Rescue Agency, said the challenge was that "the affected area is spread out ... On top of that, the roads in these villages are damaged".

"Most of the casualties are children, because at 1pm they were still at school," he said of the time the quake hit.

His agency confirmed that 162 people had died and more than 13,000 people had been evacuated.

Cianjur's police chief told the Metro TV news channel that 20 people had been evacuated from the Cugenang area so far. Most of these people later died, with residents still reporting missing family members.

The area was hit by a landslide triggered by the quake, blocking access to the area.

"At least six of my relatives are still unaccounted for: three adults and three children," said Zainuddin, a Cugenang resident.

"If it was just an earthquake only the houses would collapse, but this is worse because of the landslide. In this residential area there were eight houses, all of which were buried and swept away."

The earthquake, which struck at a depth of just 10km and was felt strongly in the capital Jakarta about 75km away, damaged at least 2,200 homes and displaced more than 5,000 people, the National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure said.

Straddling the so-called Ring of Fire, a seismically active zone where different plates on the Earth's crust meet, Indonesia has a history of devastating earthquakes.

In 2004, a 9.1-magnitude quake off Sumatra in northern Indonesia triggered a tsunami that struck 14 countries, killing 226,000 people along the Indian Ocean coastline, more than half of them in Indonesia.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: November 23, 2022, 5:04 AM
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