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Rescue Efforts Continue After Indonesia Earthquake

Rescue efforts continue in the aftermath of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit Indonesia. The government has confirmed the deaths of 64 people but that number is expected to rise.

The earthquake that shook the Indonesian island of Java caused a landslide in the village of Cikangkareng, burying 13 homes and the people who were inside.

Arifin, a retired teacher, lost most of his family.

He says he can only pray that they will be in a better place.

This village in the Cianjur district has reported the highest number of earthquake deaths, and the toll is likely to rise.

Rescue efforts are underway. Bulldozers work to remove tons of dirt, rocks, and trees.

And soldiers using shovels and sticks are both searching for survivors and recovering the dead.

Dede Jusef, the vice governor of West Java is coordinating rescue efforts.

"Our main concern is to rescue as much people as we can get, and afterwards then we can manage for the reconstruction," Jusef said.

In addition to scores of casualties and the hundreds of wounded, the earthquake damaged thousands of houses, schools, and buildings in the country.

The earthquake, which occurred just off the southern Java coast, shook tall buildings in city of Jakarta, 190 kilometers to the north, but caused little damage.

Rural towns and villages to the south were hit hardest.

In the town Tasikmalaya, 115 kilometers from the epicenter of the quake, 500 houses were destroyed leaving about 2,000 homeless.

In the village of Sukanagara, which has a population of 30,000, one person died and 198 houses were damaged.

While Indonesia is prone to frequent seismic activity, Sukanagara official Firman Edi says for his small village an earthquake of this magnitude is a rare occurrence.

He says this was big for them. It never happened there in 20 years.

Tents have been erected in the affected areas for the over 5,000 people in need of temporary housing. Assistance, including food, water and medicine is beginning to arrive.