Damaged roads hinder quake rescue


Serious damage: The office of the governor of West Sulawesi province partially collapsed following the earthquake in Mamuju, West Sulawesi. — Reuters

Damaged roads and bridges, power blackouts and lack of heavy equipment hampered rescuers after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake left at least 45 dead and hundreds injured on Sulawesi island.

Operations were focused on about eight locations in the hardest-hit city of Mamuju, where people are still believed trapped following Friday’s quake, said Saidar Rahmanjaya, who heads the local search and rescue agency.

Cargo planes carrying food, tents, blankets and other supplies from Jakarta landed late Friday for distribution in temporary shelters. Still, thousands spent the night in the open fearing aftershocks and a possible tsunami.

Forty-five bodies were sent to a police hospital for identification by relatives, after rescuers retrieved 36 victims in Mamuju and nine others in neighbouring Majene district.

More than 200 people are receiving treatment in the Bhayangkara police hospital and several others in Mamuju alone. Another 630 have been hurt in Majene, said the National Disaster Mitigation Agency’s chief Doni Monardo.

At least 300 houses in Majene were damaged and about 15,000 people moved to shelters. Many survivors said that aid has not reached them yet due to damaged roads and disrupted communications.

Among those pulled alive was a young girl who was stuck in the wreckage of a house with her sister.

The girl was seen in video released by the disaster agency Friday crying for help. She is being treated in a hospital. — AP

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