Indonesian quake death toll rises to 64

The death toll from a powerful earthquake is continuing to rise as Indonesian rescue crews move debris from a landslide in search of bodies.
Rescue workers search for victims of an earthquake in Cikangkareng, Indonesia. ((Dadang Tri/Reuters))

The death toll from a powerful earthquake is continuing to rise as Indonesian rescue crews move debris from a landslide in search of bodies.

Officials reported Friday that at least 64 people have been confirmed dead as a result of a 7.0 earthquake that was centred earlier this week just off the coast of West Java.

The death toll is expected to increase, officials said. At least 37 residents of Cikangkareng, about 100 kilometres south of the capital of Jakarta, are believed to be buried under the ruble of a landslide that was triggered by the quake Wednesday. At least 13 of those under the debris are believed to be children, officials said.

Authorities deployed hundreds of soldiers and police officers with sniffer dogs to aid in the search for survivors on Friday.

Dede Kurniati's nine-year-old son was playing on a rented gaming console with a group of other boys at a neighbour's house when the landslide came down.

A rescue worker carries mineral water for earthquake victims. ((Dadang Tri/Reuters))
"I have lost my son … now I just want to see his body. I want to bury my lovely son," Kurniati told The Associated Press.

Officials said the search will continue for a week but that there is little hope of finding any survivors.

Villagers have been struggling to move the mounds of rocks in search of bodies.

The size of the boulders has made if difficult to use heavy digging equipment at the site, according to rescue crews.

"Their parents are still waiting at the scene, hoping we will find the bodies," said rescue worker Agus Sobari.

At least 125 people were hospitalized with serious injuries from the quake, said Health Ministry crisis centre chief Rustam Pakaya.

The quake has left more than 28,000 people displaced on the densely populated island of West Java.

More than 87,000 buildings were damaged in the quake, according to the Disaster Management Agency and thousands of people have reportedly sought refuge at shelters and military facilities.

Aid workers have been distributing blankets and medicine kits to the quake victims.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has pledged $500,000 US to help quake victims.

With files from The Associated Press