Indonesia earthquake survivor mourns 11 family members during reconstruction

CIANJUR, Indonesia (AP) — Enjot was tending his cows in the hills near his home when the earth shook.

The magnitude 5.6 earthquake killed at least 268 people, including 11 of Enjot’s family members. His sister-in-law and her two children were injured, among hundreds injured in Monday’s earthquake.

Now Enjot visits his hospitalized loved ones and tries to rebuild his shattered life, one of thousands of Indonesians reeling from the disaster.

“My life has suddenly changed,” says 45-year-old Enjot, who, like many Indonesians, has one name. “I’ll have to live with it from now on.”

The earthquake’s epicenter was just south of Enjot’s hometown, Cianjur. After receiving a call from his daughter, Enjot boarded his motorcycle and raced home, arriving within minutes to find his neighborhood razed to the ground.

“Men, women and children cried as people trapped in the collapsed houses screamed for help,” he recalled. “I saw terrible devastation and heartbreaking scenes.”

His sister-in-law and her children, visiting from a nearby village, were among the more fortunate. Others heard their screams under the rubble and pulled them from the wreckage.

The woman and children suffered serious head injuries and broken bones and are being treated at a hospital overwhelmed by the number of casualties.

More than 265 people were killed on Tuesday evening, with hundreds missing and injured, almost all in and around Cianjur, according to the government’s National Disaster Agency. The toll was expected to rise.

Like many other villagers, Enjot desperately dug through the rubble for survivors, and managed to save several. But blocked roads and damaged bridges prevented authorities from deploying the heavy machinery needed to clear larger slabs of concrete and other debris.

All day, family members wailed as they watched rescuers pull mud-covered bodies from the destroyed buildings, including one of Enjot’s nephews.

Not far from Enjot’s home, an aftershock triggered a landslide that crashed into the home of one of his relatives, burying seven people. Four were rescued, but two nephews and a nephew were killed, he said.

In a neighboring village, his sister, a cousin and six other relatives were killed when their houses collapsed, Enjot said.

Faced with such a sudden loss of life and without a place to live, Enjot wondered what would come next.

For now, he joins thousands living in tents or other temporary shelters set up by volunteers, barely enough to protect them from monsoon rains.

“The situation is worse than it appears on television,” said Enjot. “We are starving, thirsty and cold without suitable tents and clothing, and we have no access to clean water.”

“All that remains,” he said, “are the clothes I’ve been wearing since yesterday.”


Karmini reported from Jakarta

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