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rescuers focus on landslide as toll rises

Cianjur: On the fourth day of an increasingly urgent search, Indonesian rescuers narrowed their focus on Thursday to a landslide where dozens of people were believed trapped after an earthquake killed at least 272, more than a third of them children.

Many of the more than 1000 rescuers were using backhoes, sniffer dogs and life detectors — as well as their bare hands — to search the worst-hit area of Cijendil village in mountainous Cianjur district where a landslide set off by Monday’s quake left tons of mud, rocks and broken trees.

Indonesian rescuers have narrowed their focus to a landslide where dozens of people were believed trapped after an earthquake killed at least 272, more than a third of them children.

Indonesian rescuers have narrowed their focus to a landslide where dozens of people were believed trapped after an earthquake killed at least 272, more than a third of them children.Credit:AP

Suharyanto, chief of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said the rescuers are planning to use more heavy equipment to search the landslide after using maximum human power.

“Hopefully in the next two days, after the weather is good, we can use heavy equipment and more victims will be found,” Suharyanto said.

Rescue efforts were temporarily suspended Wednesday as heavy monsoon rains fell.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited Cianjur on Thursday and said rescuers will focus on one location where 39 people are missing.

Rescuers search for victims at a village hit by an earthquake-triggered landslide in Cianjur, West Java, Indonesia.

Rescuers search for victims at a village hit by an earthquake-triggered landslide in Cianjur, West Java, Indonesia.Credit:AP

“The search process will be our priority for now,” Widodo said. “The soil is unstable, so you need to be careful,” he warned.

He said distribution of relief supplies has been difficult because the injured and displaced are spread out and hard to reach.


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