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Indonesia Rescuers Race to Find Dozens Missing after Quake

November 24, 2022, 07.20 PM


CIANJUR, KOMPAS.com - Indonesian authorities deployed heavy machinery, helicopters and thousands of personnel Thursday, Nov. 24, in a desperate effort to locate dozens trapped in rubble by an earthquake that killed 271 people, as hopes faded to find survivors.

Some have been pulled alive from the hulk of twisted metal and concrete in dramatic rescues in the town of Cianjur in West Java, including a six-year-old boy who spent two days under the wreckage without food or water.

Officials said around 40 people are still missing and believed trapped, including a seven-year-old girl, as rescue efforts were delayed by hammering rains and aftershocks.

But the rescue of the young boy Azka alive, captured on video, gave relatives and rescuers a dash of optimism.

“Once we realized Azka was alive everybody broke into tears, including me,” 28-year-old local volunteer Jeksen Kolibu told AFP on Thursday.

Also read: Hunt for Buried Survivors after Indonesia Quake Kills 162

“It was very moving, it felt like a miracle.”

In the worst-hit district of Cugenang, scores of rescue workers drilled on Thursday through big slabs of concrete and removed roof tiles at a destroyed house where they believed a young girl was buried as her distraught mother watched on.

Jakarta Police Chief Inspector General Fadil Imran speaks during a ceremony as police personnel will leave for the city of Cianjur in West Java to distribute assistance to the quake victims on Thursday, November 24, 2022.   KOMPAS.com/Tria Sutrisna Jakarta Police Chief Inspector General Fadil Imran speaks during a ceremony as police personnel will leave for the city of Cianjur in West Java to distribute assistance to the quake victims on Thursday, November 24, 2022.

Other rescuers used digging tools, hammers and their bare hands to clear the debris in hope of finding seven-year-old Cika.

Her parents gave possible locations to rescuers for the delicate rescue mission.

“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, told AFP at the scene.

“My instinct tells me she is here because she liked playing here,” she added, referring to the house of the girl’s grandmother where the search is focused.

“Whatever happens I will try to accept it.”

Sastra Winata, a firefighter involved in the rescue, said workers feared she was “running and was buried.”

By Thursday afternoon, workers had prepared a stretcher to be ready for her discovery dead or alive.

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Source AFP


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