FRIDAY, March 01, 2024

Parents grieve for children killed in deadly Indonesia quake

Parents grieve for children killed in deadly Indonesia quake

Parents of children killed in a deadly earthquake that hit Indonesia grieved were trying to cope with grief on Wednesday, as authorities said the death toll had risen to 268.

Lala Latifah, the mother of 8-year-old Anisa who died from her injuries after being taken to a clinic, told Reuters she had a hard time letting go of her daughter.

"She was a good girl, she always did what her parents would tell her… but I pray to God that I can someday let go, and give her my blessings," Latifah said.

The parents of Anisa's best friend, Vira, recalled seeing their daughter's body being recovered from beneath piles of debris.

"When I saw it happen, I couldn’t handle it. Seeing my daughter’s condition, her body and face all had injuries," said Vira's father Ujang Nurdin, a public bus driver.

Siti Maemun, a teacher at the school Anisa and Vira attended, said 20 children were killed when a deadly 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck the town of Cianjur in West Java, about 75 km (45 miles) southeast of the capital Jakarta, on Monday (November 21).

Maemun said they were unprepared for an earthquake of such a large scale.

“We’ve always made sure that since primary school, students are taught by teachers to get out of class quickly if an earthquake happens and to find cover. But this earthquake was huge, and we couldn’t do anything,” she said.

Ujang Nurdin and Rian Solihat, hold a portrait of their daughter Vira Aprilianti, an 8-year-old student who was found dead under the ruins of a Madrasah that collapsed during an earthquake in Cianjur, Indonesia, November 23, 2022. REUTERS/Stefanno Reinard

Disaster agency chief Suharyanto told reporters that more than 1,000 people had been injured, 58,000 displaced and 22,000 houses damaged.

Wednesday's recovery efforts will shift to Cugenang, a hard-hit district near Cianjur, where at least one village is believed to have been buried under a landslide. Helicopters are expected to drop emergency supplies to two more cut off by blocked roads.

Straddling the so-called Ring of Fire, a highly seismically active zone where different plates on the earth's crust meet, Indonesia has a history of devastating earthquakes.