At least 110 people hospitalized with injuries from the 7.0 magnitude quake just off the coast of densely populated Java island.
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
Rescuers dug through rocks and debris with their bare hands Thursday in search of dozens of villagers believed buried in a landslide triggered by a strong Indonesian earthquake that killed at least 46 people and caused widespread damage.
At least 110 people were hospitalized with injuries from the 7.0 magnitude quake just off the coast of densely populated Java island, Disaster Management Agency spokesman Priyadi Kardono said, adding that 10 were in critical condition.
The earthquake Wednesday afternoon caused destruction across West Java province, where 700 buildings toppled or were badly damaged. Many of the deaths and injuries were caused by falling debris or collapsed walls and roofs.
In the village of Cikangkareng in Cianjur district, a landslide buried a row of homes under tons of rock and mud. At least 13 bodies were recovered and villagers were searching for dozens of people believed missing, Kardono said.
"Everything is gone, my wife, my old father-in-law and my house ... now I just hope to find the bodies of my family," farmer Ahmad Suhana, 34, said as he pried at giant stones with a crowbar.
Heavy digging equipment had not reached the remote village, which President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was to visit later Thursday. Police, military personnel and villagers used their hands.
Maskana Sumitra, a district administrator, said 11 houses and a mosque were buried by the landslide and estimated that more than 50 people were trapped and feared dead.
"The chance of survival is so slim ... but we have to find them," Sumitra said.
The prolonged shaking from the quake was felt hundreds of kilometers away on the neighboring resort island of Bali.
In the capital, Jakarta, 190 kilometers north, thousands of panicked office workers flooded out of swaying skyscrapers onto the streets, some of them screaming.
The Disaster Management Agency said at least 46 people were confirmed dead.
"The earthquake was shaking everything in my house very strongly for almost a minute," Heni Maryani, a resident of the town of Sukabumi, told el Shinta radio. "I grabbed my children and ran out. I saw people were in panic. Women were screaming and children were crying."
Hospitals quickly filled with scores of injured people, most of them with broken bones and cuts.
A tsunami warning was issued after the quake struck at mid afternoon but was lifted an hour later. Several dozen aftershocks were measured by geological agencies.
Indonesia, a vast archipelago, straddles continental plates and is prone to seismic activity along what is known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. A huge quake off western Indonesia caused a powerful tsunami in December 2004 that killed about 230,000 people in a dozen countries, half of them in Aceh province.
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