Indonesian president announces compensation for quake victims as search for survivors continues
Indonesia's President Joko Widodo has announced a compensation to victims and their families after an earthquake killed 162 people in the country's most populous province. He visited the epicentre of the quake, the town of Cianjur in West Java province. Rescue teams have been ordered to prioritise saving people trapped under rubble and to urgently access areas blocked off by landslides.
"My instruction is to prioritise evacuating victims that are still trapped under rubble," the president said during a visit to the impacted area.
He also said that to protect against future natural disasters, reconstruction should include earthquake-prone housing.
Many of the fatalities resulted from people trapped under collapsed buildings, officials said.
While the West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil puts the toll at 162 people dead, the toll from the national disaster agency (BNPB) currently stands at 103, with 31 missing. Authorities are operating "under the assumption that the number of injured and death will rise with time", the governor said. Notably, at least one village is still buried by landslides triggered by the quake.
"The challenge is the affected area is spread out ... On top of that, the roads in these villages are damaged," Henri Alfiandi, head of National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), told a news conference.
Officials say most of those dead are children since at 1 pm, they were still at school.
Rescue efforts are being hampered by electricity outages in some areas and more than 100 aftershocks.
The earthquake, which struck at a depth of just 10 km, damaged at least 2,200 homes and displaced more than 5,000 people, the BNPB said.
Landslide made things worse in the town of Cianjur. Drone footage from local media showed a mountainous area in the region hit by a landslide triggered by the quake.