Survivors of an Indonesian earthquake that killed at least 268 people appealed for food and water as rescuers scoured devastated villages in the hope of finding someone alive in the process to disappear.
The calls for help came as authorities warned that debris from landslides caused by the strong earthquake near the town of Cianjur in West Java needed to be cleared ahead of heavy rains expected in the coming weeks, threatening a second disaster.
Two days after the earthquake flattened their homes, residents were still trying to recover priceless possessions, including family photos, religious books and marriage certificates.
“Although some supplies have arrived, it’s not enough. We have rice, instant noodles, mineral water but it’s not enough,” Mustafa, a 23-year-old resident, told AFP. years from the village of Gasol.
He had just rummaged through the rubble of an elderly neighbour’s house at her request and carried away clothes before returning for rice, a gas cooker, canisters and frying pans.
“We have no clothes and haven’t changed in days, so I’m rummaging through the rubble for clothes,” he said.
The government sent tents and other supplies for the displaced people, but another resident asked for more supplies due to shortages.
“My child has a fever and cannot eat. There are many children and old people here. The children need milk, nappies, food and medicine,” said Yunisa Yuliani, 30. .
Indonesia is vulnerable to landslides and flash floods during the rainy season, which has already started and peaks in December in West Java.
The country’s weather agency warned the city was prone to another disaster.
“We need to be alert to a potential second disaster, such as a landslide,” Dwikorita Karnawati, head of the meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency, told a news conference.
“The urgent step is to control the piles of fallen material,” she said.
The agency’s tally of aftershocks from the quake rose to 145, with magnitudes ranging from 1.2 to 4.2, Karnawati said.
Residents of Cianjur began mourning their loved ones, burying them in accordance with their Islamic faith after authorities released them from morgues.
In February, an earthquake in West Pasaman in Sumatra killed several people and left the ground in the area unstable and prone to rains that would cause landslides weeks later.
Ms Karnawati said rivers blocked by landslides or rubble had triggered flash flooding in West Pasaman and warned the same could happen in Cianjur.
“We urgently need to clear away the materials and rubble that are blocking the flow of rivers in the high hills.”
Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide.
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