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Search Continues for People Missing After Indonesia's Earthquake


Rescuers search for victims of an earthquake-triggered landslide in Cianjur, West Java, Indonesia, Nov. 23, 2022.

Search and rescue crews in Indonesia worked Wednesday to find people still missing from the magnitude 5.6 earthquake that struck Cianjur in West Java on Monday afternoon.

Disaster agency chief Suharyanto told reporters Tuesday evening that 151 people were still missing, and that searchers will go through every bit of rubble from destroyed buildings to find them.

The earthquake killed at least 268 people and injured more than 1,000 others. There were more than 58,000 people displaced and 22,000 houses damaged.

Many of the dead were children who were in school when the earthquake hit Indonesia's most populous province.

"When the quake struck, my daughter Nur Alika was still at school," Ayu Rahayu told VOA. "Her friends told me that she was the last one that left the class in panic situation. She fell under the rubble of the building. I tried to find her since 2 p.m., right after the earthquake hit us. I found her at 6 p.m. in the emergency post in front of this hospital."

Seven-year-old Nur Alika is in first grade at Benjod Elementary School in Cianjur. Her head and eye are badly injured.

At the same emergency post in the Cianjur hospital parking lot, VOA also met Dede (one name only).

"My wife and children were at home when suddenly it shook, collapsed, flattened to the ground," said Dede. "My youngest daughter, Salmatu Sa'adah, 4 years old, was badly injured. Her right hand was broken. There is blood in her head."

Dede's wife and first son only have minor injuries, but they decided to stay in the open field in the Cianjur hospital parking lot.

"We can't go home, our home collapsed, we don't have anywhere else to go," Dede added.

West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil confirmed that most of the victims were children.

"We're very concerned because the quake occurred when the children were at school, madrasa (Islamic boarding school). We will find those who are still missing," said Kamil.

The governor also highlighted the poorly constructed school buildings and public facilities in the area.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo traveled to Cianjur on Tuesday and instructed crews to "prioritize in finding and evacuating victims that are still trapped under the rubble."

He also called for them to get into areas that are still inaccessible due to landslides caused by the earthquake. "If you can't go by land, use the helicopter," said Jokowi.

The president also ordered the immediate repair of all public facilities and houses.

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