Chaos, stress and fear were omnipresent this Monday in the town Indonesia of Cianjur, in the west of the island of Java, where a magnitude 5.6 earthquake caused at least 162 deaths and hundreds of injuries.
Agus Azhari, 19, was with his mother at home when the hall collapsed in just a few seconds due to the earthquake.
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At Azhari’s home, parts of the roof and walls were smashed and he suffered leg and hand injuries from the impact of a cabinet and other debris.
“I coudn’t see anything. The dust from the ruins prevented me from seeing”, explained Azhari to AFP, who acknowledged that he had never experienced an earthquake of this type before.
This young Indonesian man shared a video of his 56-year-old mother yelling “please sir! My home!”.
“I grabbed my mother’s hand and we ran out of the house,” Azhari said. “I felt cries for help from all sides,” he added.
The earthquake collapsed the roof and walls of houses built on a hillside with wood and mud, whose structure was quite precarious.
Emergency services agents pulled residents of Cianjur from under the rubble.
According to authorities, at least 25 people remain trapped under the rubble.
The inhabitants took the injured in trucks and motorcycles to the local hospitals, which suffered power cuts and collapsed before the arrival of some 700 wounded.
There were wounded on stretchers and elderly women in wheelchairs waiting to be attended to.
“I could not do anything”
In another hospital, in the city of Cimacan, the victims arrived bloody and there were also parents looking for their missing children.
The earthquake had numerous aftershocks, which accentuated the fear of the inhabitants.
In addition, it caused landslides and emergency services had to use bulldozers to rescue people and clear highways.
A woman and her baby were saved from under the rubble, but many of her neighbors lost their lives.
Oman, 55, who like many of his compatriots has only one name, was cooking stir-fried rice when the walls of his house began to shake.
“Suddenly, I found myself inside my destroyed house. He was trapped in the rubble and I couldn’t move. My wife was outside, ”she explains.
“I couldn’t do anything, but at least I’m still alive,” says a relieved Omar, who suffered significant injuries to his legs, feet and hands, but managed to be rescued by his children.
The rescue tasks continued on Monday night and the death toll could worsen.
Indonesia often registers earthquakes because it is in the Pacific “ring of fire”, the meeting point of tectonic plates.
The country remains scarred by the December 26, 2004, magnitude 9.1 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, which killed up to 220,000 people in the region and 170,000 in Indonesia.