Indonesian President Joko Widodo urged rescue workers on Tuesday to prioritise saving victims trapped in rubble a day after an earthquake devastated a West Java town, killing up to 162 people and injuring hundreds more.
Many of the fatalities resulted from people trapped under collapsed buildings, officials said.
“My instruction is to prioritise evacuating victims that are still trapped under rubble,” the president said during a visit to the impacted area.
In the aftermath of Monday’s quake victims fled to a hospital parking lot in Cianjur overnight, some treated in makeshift tents, others hooked up to intravenous drips on the pavement, while medical workers stitched up patients under the light of torches.
Footage from Kompas TV showed people in affected areas holding cardboard signs asking for food and shelter, with emergency supplies seemingly yet to reach them.
Hundreds of police officers were deployed to assist 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.
‘STILL AT SCHOOL’
West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said 162 people were killed, many of them children, while the toll from the national disaster agency (BNPB) currently stands at 103, with 31 missing.
Reporting by Johan Purnomo, Tommy Adriansyah and Ajeng Dinar Ulfina in Cianjur; and Gayatri Suroyo, Ananda Teresia, Fransiska Nangoy and Bernadette Christina Munthe in Jakarta; Writing by Kate Lamb; Editing by Ed Davies and Stephen Coates