‘Wait for me in heaven, my child’: Students form the biggest casualties in West Java earthquake

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Lilies Suharyati said that when the quake happened, all she could think about was her two sons, Ridho, 10, and Ridwan, 7.

“I left the house immediately and headed straight to their school. I didn’t even bother to lock the doors or bring anything with me,” she told CNA on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old housewife said by the time she got to her sons’ school, she saw many pupils covered in blood and dust. Everyone, teachers and parents included, were sobbing uncontrollably from the shock and horror of the disaster.

The school, in the hilly, rural outskirts of Cianjur town, was deserted when CNA visited. A section of its outer walls had collapsed completely, while its classrooms were littered with debris and broken glass.

Hats belonging to students could be seen still hanging on one of the classroom’s walls and there was a glass containing a half-consumed drink on one of the teacher’s desks, hinting at the horror and panic caused by the tremor as everyone fled for their lives.

Suharyati said she could only find her eldest among the pupils. Her other son, Ridwan, was taken to a hospital for a broken wrist he sustained when a wooden cabinet fell on him.

Taking Ridho with her, Suharyati rushed to the hospital to find her injured son. The three have not been home since the quake.

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Children made up a significant portion of the patients treated at Cianjur’s Sayang Public Hospital, the biggest hospital in the West Java regency. Some, like Ridwan, had broken bones while others had injuries on various parts of their bodies.

The hospital, which also sustained damage from the earthquake, had to erect makeshift tents on its parking lot to treat the influx of patients.

Those with more serious injuries were treated inside the building, with hospital beds occupying lobbies and hallways as the hospital experienced a shortage of rooms.

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