CIKANGKARENG, INDONESIA // Rescuers dug through rocks and debris with their bare hands today in search of dozens of villagers believed buried in a landslide triggered by a strong Indonesian earthquake that killed at least 46 people and damaged thousands of buildings. At least 110 people were hospitalised with injuries from the 7.0 magnitude quake just off the coast of densely populated Java island, the Disaster Management Agency spokesman Priyadi Kardono said, adding that 10 were in critical condition.
The earthquake yesterday afternoon caused destruction across West Java province, where more than 18,300 homes and offices were listed as damaged, about 9,000 of them seriously, Mr Kardono said. At least 5,300 people were forced into temporary shelters, he said. Some rural areas could not be reached by telephone and there may be more victims and damage, officials said. 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, Mr Kardono said. Heavy digging equipment had not reached the remote village, which the president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was to visit later today. Police, military personnel and villagers used their hands.