Amid the horror of a magnitude 7.5 earthquake that triggered a tsunami in Indonesia, leaving more than 800 dead, came word Sunday of heroic rescue attempts in the rubble of a ravaged city.
A 25-year-old woman was pulled alive from the ruins of the Roa-Roa Hotel in Palu, a coastal community on Sulawesi Island devastated by the disaster and the focus of rescue efforts, Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency said.
Rescuers scrambled to free a 15-year-old girl trapped for two days next to her dead mother under concrete when her house collapsed.
Dramatic photos show a girl with dazed eyes, identified as Nurul Istikharah, reaching out to an emergency responder in an orange jumpsuit as another rescuer tries to lift her from the muddied water. Fearing the girl could drown, crews desperately tried to stop water from a nearby leaking pipe.
The rescue of the woman from the Roa-Roa was a bright spot for anguished rescuers. Some, who were awaiting heavy equipment, have been picking through the rubble by hand.
Officials said they could hear voices begging for help Saturday from the remnants of the collapsed hotel and estimated 50 people were trapped inside. By Sunday, there was only silence.
“We are trying our best. Time is so important here to save people,” said Muhammad Syaugi, head of the national search-and-rescue team. “Heavy equipment is on the way.”
The death toll has more than doubled to 832 from the twin disasters that struck Friday evening, crumbling buildings, sweeping away homes and flattening communities. Most of the deaths are from Palu. The regencies of Donggala, Sigi and Parigi Moutong – which have a combined population of 1.2 million – had yet to be completely assessed.
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Source: USA Today