‘I can’t sleep for fear of aftershocks’: victims on aftermath of Indonesia earthquake

Homes damaged, roads blocked and families forced to live in tents as hospitals continue to treat injured

At the Cimacan regional hospital in Cipanas, Cianjur, medical staff members were still busy treating patients inside three makeshift tents on Tuesday afternoon, following Monday’s devastating earthquake. Many patients were admitted to Ciamacan hospital after the main road to downtown Cianjur was closed due to landslides triggered by the quake.

Rizki Utama, a hospital spokesperson, said the facility had treated 260 victims, 14 of whom died. Most of the victims arrived with fractures and cuts.

A landslide caused by an earthquake in Indonesia
Landslides caused by the earthquake continue to block main roads. Photograph: Adi Renaldi/The goodnewsetc

Eka Ruswati, a 36-year-old elementary teacher, was shocked when she heard that her second son, Muhammad Hisni, was among the injured. His, an 11-year-old boy who was on a field trip with his classmates, suffered cuts on his head and hand that required stitching after the minivan he was in was hit by a landslide in Cugenang shortly after the earthquake.

“The car went into a deep ravine,” she said. “My son and his friends were evacuated by local residents. I feel so grateful that he’s OK apart from the injury. He’s going home today.”

Makeshift hospital tents are continuing to treat injured.
Makeshift hospital tents are continuing to treat injured. Photograph: Adi Renaldi/The goodnewsetc

Landslides have blocked the main roads into Cianjur, creating traffic congestion as ambulances, volunteers and residents tried to reach the city. There were long queues at petrol stations as people prepared for electricity blackouts, while shops, restaurants and convenient stores were mostly closed.

Many residents bracing for aftershocks do not want to go back inside their homes and are setting up makeshift tents in their yards or fields. Taufik Hidayat, a 37-year-old resident of Cibeureum village in Cugenang, said that he and other families have lived in a tent since Monday afternoon. Although their homes were not badly damaged, they are still afraid. Five of his neighbours were injured, said Hidayat.

“I guess we will stay here [in a tent] for the next three days,” said Hidayat. “I can’t sleep well for fear of aftershocks. I hope that this will be over soon.”

Hidayat said there were five families in his neighbourhood who were still living in a tent.

Some residents whose houses were badly damaged have no options but to live inside a shelter. Nursalam, a Cibeureum village leader, said there were 200 people at the shelter that he set up together with other residents. Nursalam said that they had received food and clothing assistance from the public and political parties and hope that the government will soon send in social aid.

Food and clothing has been donated by the public and political parties as social aid is awaited from the government.
Food and clothing has been donated by the public and political parties as social aid is awaited from the government. Photograph: Adi Renaldi/The goodnewsetc

“Most of their houses are uninhabitable, including mine, so we don’t know when they are able to come home,” Nursalam said. “I guess it will be a while.”

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