Rescue workers in Indonesia have pulled a six-year-old boy from the rubble of his collapsed house in Cianjur after he survived the earthquake because he was protected by a mattress.
The boy, named Azka Maulana Malik, had been detained for two days and was found alive next to his deceased grandmother’s body.
He appeared calm as he was carried to safety by the rescue team in a video shared online by the local fire department.
“(Azka) is fine now, not hurt. The doctor said he’s only weak because he’s hungry,” said relative Salman Alfarisi, holding Azka’s hand near a tent set up outside the quake-damaged hospital.
The 22-year-old said the boy’s mother was killed in Monday’s earthquake.
‘He wants to go home now. He asked for his mother while sleeping.
The death toll from the magnitude 5.6 earthquake in the west of the densely populated Java island now stands at 271, but authorities expect this number to rise as some remote areas have yet to be reached and heavy rains have hampered rescue efforts. About 40 people remain missing and more than 2,000 are injured.
It was Indonesia’s deadliest earthquake since 2018, when a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck shallow waters off the Sulawesi town of Palu. tsunami, liquefaction and landslides which destroyed the city and killed more than 4,000 people.
Police, soldiers and other rescue personnel used jackhammers, circular saws, agricultural tools and their bare hands to dig through mounds of earth in the hardest hit area of Cijendil village. where a landslide left tons of mudrocks and trees.
Muhammad Tohir, 48, was sitting with his family in his living room in Cijendil when disaster struck. They managed to escape, but his sister and her two children did not.
“When I got to my sister’s house, I was devastated by what I saw,” said Tohir. “Dozens of houses were buried by landslides. … It felt like doomsday. He said at least 45 people were buried alive under tons of mud.
Tohir and other residents searched for the missing using farm implements and managed to pull out two bodies. Two days later, rescue personnel arrived to assist in the search.
Tohir said he wouldn’t give up until they could pull his sister and nieces out of the mud.
Rain and the danger of aftershocks that would trigger more landslides on muddy slopes had hampered search and rescue efforts, said Henri Alfiandi, head of the search and rescue service.
More than 170 aftershocks have been recorded, including a magnitude 3.9 quake on Wednesday afternoon.
“Because the earthquake was quite strong and it was raining, we feared landslides. But we have now continued with the evacuation process,” Henri told Reuters news agency.
More than 12,000 military personnel were deployed on Wednesday to support search efforts by police, search and rescue and volunteers, said Suharyanto, head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.
Suharyanto, who like many Indonesians goes by just one name, said the aid reached thousands of homeless people who fled to temporary shelters, where supplies were brought on foot across the rugged terrain.
Nearly 62,000 survivors had been transferred to shelters.
Most sought shelter under makeshift shelters lashed by the torrential rain. Only a few were protected by tarpaulin-covered tents.
Experts said the quake’s shallowness and lack of earthquake-resistant buildings and roads contributed to the damage.
More than 2.5 million people live in the rural district of Cianjur, of which about 175,000 live in the capital of the same name.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited Cianjur the day after the earthquake and pledged to rebuild infrastructure and provide relief of up to 50 million rupiah ($3,180) to each resident whose home was damaged.
Indonesia, which straddles the so-called Ring of Fire, an active seismic zone where several plates of the Earth’s crust meet, has a history of devastating earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
In December 2004, a magnitude 9.1 earthquake off the coast of the island of Sumatra in western Indonesia triggered a massive tsunami that washed ashore in 14 countries around the Indian Ocean. killing 226,000 peoplemore than half of which in Indonesia.