Indonesian rescuers are turning their attention to the landslide as the death toll from the earthquake rises

CIANJUR, Indonesia (AP) — In the fourth day of an increasingly urgent search, Indonesian rescuers have narrowed their work to a landslide that is believed to have trapped dozens of people after Thursday’s earthquake that killed at least 271 people, more than a third of them children.

Many of the more than 1,000 rescue teams are using excavators, sniffer dogs and life detectors, as well as hammers and bare hands, to speed up the search in the worst-hit area of ​​the village of Cicandil, where a landslide was triggered by Monday’s earthquake. laid tons of mud, rock and wood. About 40 victims are believed to be still trapped in the ground and rubble of collapsed buildings in the Cugenang sub-district.

The head of the National Search and Rescue Agency, Henry Alfiandi, said rescuers were working in other affected areas to make sure there were no victims who needed to be evacuated.

“We hope that all the victims will be found soon,” Alfiandi said Thursday.

On Wednesday, searchers rescued a 6-year-old boy who had been under the rubble of his destroyed house for two days.

More than 2,000 people were injured in the earthquake, which caused at least 61,000 people to be moved to evacuation centers and other shelters after at least 56,000 homes were damaged. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said 171 public facilities, including 31 schools, were destroyed.

Suharyanto, head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said that 100 of the 271 confirmed deaths were children.

Rescue operations were temporarily suspended due to heavy monsoon rains on Wednesday.

Monday’s 5.6-magnitude earthquake would not normally be expected to cause significant damage. But the quake was shallow and shook a densely populated area with no earthquake-resistant infrastructure. Weak aftershocks continued until Thursday morning.

More than 2.5 million people live in the mountainous Cianjur district, including 175,000 in the main city of the same name.

President Joko Widodo visited Cianjur on Tuesday and pledged to rebuild its infrastructure and provide up to 50 million rupiah ($3,180) in aid to each resident whose house was damaged.

Because Indonesia is located on an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Ocean, known as the “Ring of Fire,” it is prone to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis.


Associated Press writer Edna Tarigan in Jakarta contributed to this report.