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(CGTN) – Indonesian rescue workers were racing on Tuesday to reach people still trapped in rubble a day after an earthquake devastated a West Java town, killing at least 162 people and injuring hundreds, as officials warned the death toll may rise.
The epicenter of the shallow magnitude-5.6 quake hit on land close to the town of Cianjur in a mountainous area of Indonesia’s most populous province. The tremor on Monday afternoon prompted panicked residents to flee onto the streets as buildings collapsed.
Many of the fatalities were caused by falling buildings, the head of Indonesia’s meteorology and geophysics agency, Dwikorita Karnawati, said in a statement.
Overnight a hospital parking lot in Cianjur was inundated with victims, some treated in makeshift tents, others hooked up to intravenous drips on the pavement, while medical workers stitched up patients under the light of flashlights.
On Tuesday morning, hundreds of police officers had been deployed to assist in rescue efforts, Dedi Prasetyo, national police spokesperson, told the Antara state news agency.
“Today’s main task order for personnel is to focus on evacuating victims,” he said.
At least 162 people were killed in Monday’s quake, many of them children, with more than 300 injured, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said, warning some residents remained trapped in isolated places.
Authorities were operating “under the assumption that the number of injured and death will rise with time,” he said.
“The challenge is the affected area is spread out … On top of that, the roads in these villages are damaged,” Henri Alfiandi, head of National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), told a news conference.
“Most of the casualties are children, because at 1 p.m. they were still at school,” he said of the time the quake hit.
Basarnas confirmed that 162 people had died and more than 13,000 people had been evacuated.
The national disaster agency (BNPB) said 62 people were killed, and it was yet to verify the 100 additional victims.
Indonesia to give compensation to earthquake victims – president
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said on Tuesday the government would hand out compensation to victims of the earthquake and their families.
Jokowi, as the president is known, visited the epicenter of the quake, and ordered rescue teams to prioritize saving people trapped under rubble and to urgently access areas blocked off by landslides.
(With input from Reuters）