Home Asia Indonesia earthquake: Many schoolchildren killed as toll soars to 268

Indonesia earthquake: Many schoolchildren killed as toll soars to 268

Intl desk, Nov 22: Many of those killed and injured in a major earthquake on the Indonesian island of Java were children, rescuers say, as the death toll soars to 268.

Aprizal Mulyadi, 14, was at school when the quake hit, saying he was trapped after “the room collapsed and my legs were buried under the rubble”.

He said he was pulled to safety by his friend Zulfikar, who later died after himself becoming trapped, BBC reported.

More than 1,000 people were wounded, officials say.

In its latest announcements on Tuesday, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) added that 151 people were still missing.

It also said that 22,000 houses had been damaged, and that more than 58,000 people had taken shelter in several locations in the region.

The 5.6 magnitude quake struck a mountainous region on Monday, causing landslides that buried entire villages near the West Java town of Cianjur.

Victims were crushed or trapped after walls and roofs caved in. “It all happened so fast,” Aprizal told AFP news agency.

A representative of the National Search and Rescue Agency also confirmed that many of the dead were young people.

“Most of the casualties are children because at 1pm, they were still at school,” said Henri Alfiandi.

A collapsed school building in Cianjur, West JavaIMAGE SOURCE,REUTERS
Image caption, A collapsed school building in Cianjur

The earthquake, which struck at a shallow depth of 10km (six miles), was followed by dozens of aftershocks which caused more damage as poorly built homes collapsed.

In the village of Cibereum, a family was trying to retrieve the body of their eldest son – a 28-year-old man who had been crushed when the other levels of the home fell on him.

Rescuers struggled to sift the rubble.

“We have to dig through the concrete of the second floor that crushed the victim. But we have seen the body,” a military official, Sergeant Payakun told the BBC.

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