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September 4, 2009

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Indonesia quake leaves 57 dead

INDONESIAN rescue workers yesterday pulled bodies from village homes buried in a landslide triggered by a powerful earthquake that severely damaged more than 10,000 buildings across West Java. The death toll rose to 57.
At least 110 people are in hospital after Wednesday's 7.0 magnitude quake, centered just off the coast of the densely populated island, Disaster Management Agency spokesman Priyadi Kardono said. Ten were in critical condition.
More than 24,800 homes, offices, schools and mosques were damaged, about 10,000 seriously, the agency said. At least 3,100 people were forced into temporary shelters, and the Red Cross said it had distributed 1,500 tents, as well as blankets, clean water and other provisions. Some rural areas could not be reached by phone and there may be more victims and damage, officials said.
Many of the deaths and injuries were caused by falling debris or collapsed structures.
The death toll continued to rise yesterday with more bodies found in Cianjur district, where a landslide buried a row of homes in the village of Cikangkareng. Villagers were searching for more than 30 friends and relatives listed as missing and feared dead.
"Everything is gone, my wife, my old father-in-law and my house. Now I just hope to find the bodies of my family," 34-year-old farmer Ahmad Suhana said as he pried at giant stones with a crowbar.
Heavy digging equipment had not reached parts of the worst affected district, which President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited yesterday. Police, military personnel and villagers were removing rubble with their hands.
Maskana Sumitra, a district administrator, said 11 houses and a mosque were buried by the landslide and the missing were feared dead.


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