Ciherang village of Cianjur was seriously damaged by the earthquake that occurred in Indonesia on November 22.
Eddy Purwanto/NurPhoto via Getty Images
- A 7-year-old Indonesian girl was found dead after a day of rescue efforts after the earthquake.
- The earthquake toppled buildings, caused landslides, and buried victims.
- 24 people are missing and 310 people are declared dead.
A seven-year-old Indonesian girl has been found dead following a day-long rescue effort after an earthquake in West Java that killed at least 310 people, rescuers told AFP on Friday.
Emergency workers on Monday found the body of Ashika Noor Fauziah, known as Cika, under rubble in Jugenang, the epicenter of the earthquake, which caused landslides, collapsed buildings and buried victims in mounds of earth.
“The body was immediately handed over to the family,” 28-year-old rescuer Jexen Kolibu told AFP. “The family was… very sad.”
Dozens of rescuers spent much of Thursday using drills, jackhammers and their bare hands to clear the debris in a delicate mission that was called off overnight.
Kolibu said Cika was found under three layers of concrete on Friday morning. Workers found him face down, surrounded by debris, with little room for breathing.
Rescuers blindfolded her and put her in a bag as her father, Ahmed, watched in despair, clutching her head. He didn’t say a word when the woman was handed over to him.
Cika was buried in a nearby cemetery less than an hour after she was found.
At the funeral, a cleric tried to calm a visibly emotional Ahmad.
Cika was then wrapped in a white sheet and lowered by three men as she was watched by exhausted volunteers and firefighters.
The head of Indonesia’s national disaster mitigation agency, Suharyanto, who went by the name of many Indonesians, put the death toll from the quake at 310 on Friday.
According to him, at least 24 people were missing due to landslides and building collapses caused by the earthquake in Cianjur, West Java.
‘It makes me sad’
The focus of the search was on the girl’s grandmother’s house, which was across the street from the family home where her mother believed she was playing during the earthquake.
“He was playing outside, I was cooking in the kitchen, and suddenly there was an earthquake, so fast, just two seconds, my house collapsed,” his 34-year-old mother, Imas Masfahitah, told AFP at the scene on Thursday.
“I will try to accept whatever happens,” she added, crying as she held her daughter’s sandals.
Hopes for a happy outcome were raised after the dramatic rescue of six-year-old Azka, described as a “miracle” after surviving under the rubble for more than two days without food or water, on Wednesday evening.
Mom was very hopeful. Azka survived, but Cika did not. That’s what makes me sad.
Before Cika was found, authorities said heavy rain and potentially deadly earthquakes hampered rescue efforts.
The head of the National Search and Rescue Agency, Henri Alfiandi, said that despite the difficulties, 17 bodies had been recovered on Friday.
“The problems are concerns about unstable ground, thickness of landslide mound aggravated by continuous rains and aftershocks,” he said.
He said the state of emergency for search and rescue efforts would last for a week until Monday, and that authorities would assess whether an extension was needed if all the missing were not found.
According to officials, most of those who died in the earthquake were children, and some were in school classes.
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As a result of the earthquake, more than 2,000 people were injured and 56,000 houses were damaged.
Suharyanto said more than 62,000 people had to be evacuated to at least 110 shelters around the Cianjur region, and many people were left homeless without adequate supplies.
Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire,” where tectonic plates collide.