Indonesia earthquake death toll reaches 310 and as rescuers find more bodies

Rescuers recover the body of a victim of the earthquake in Indonesia.  (AP)
Rescuers recover the body of a victim of the earthquake in Indonesia. (AP)

The death toll from an earthquake in Indonesia has risen to 310 after rescuers found more bodies under landslides.

.At least 24 people are still missing in the disaster zone on the island of Java.

In devastated towns in western Java, residents gathered near badly damaged mosques for Friday prayers as the nation tried to come to terms with the carnage.

Bodies were recovered on Friday in two areas of the mountainous Cianjur district, where landslides triggered by Monday’s earthquake brought tonnes of mud, rocks and broken trees, according to Henri Alfiandi, chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency.

More than 1,400 rescuers have been searching through the rubble since the magnitude 5.6 quake, which injured more than 2,000 people.

 (AP)
(AP)

The National Disaster Management Agency, which is co-ordinating the response to the earhquake, said rescuers will search until rebuilding begins.

It said: “We will do it up to the last person. There is no reduction whatsoever, in strength, enthusiasm, or the equipment.”

In the update they said distribution of food and other aid is improving and reaching more people in 110 evacuation locations.

The disaster agency said the earthquake damaged at least 56,000 houses and displaced at least 36,000 people.Hundreds of public facilities were destroyed, including 363 schools.

An earthquake of that strength would not typically cause such serious damage, but Monday’s quake was shallow and shook a densely populated area lacking earthquake-resistant infrastructure.Indonesia is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin known as the Ring Of Fire.

President Joko Widodo visited the remote disaster zone on Tuesday.

He said: “My instruction is to prioritise evacuating victims that are still trapped under rubble.

Hundreds of police and other rescuers are taking part in the rescue effort. Mr Jokowi pledged compensation to affected communities.

Save the Children said that at least 80 schools had been damaged.

A spokesperson said: “Children are terrified and we need to get food, water and shelter to them and ensure they’re not at risk of separation from parents and caregivers.”