‘Not enough food and medicine, they are cold’: Maid says relatives crammed into tent after Java quake

1 week ago 26

SINGAPORE - After learning of the 5.6-magnitude earthquake that hit her hometown on Monday afternoon, Indonesian maid Dian Rodiah spent seven frantic hours trying to contact her family.

While running errands, she repeatedly rang her parents, who live in the Cianjur regency - the epicentre of the West Java earthquake - but her calls could not get through.

“I was very shocked when I heard the news about the quake from my friend in Cianjur. I was anxious all day,” said Ms Dian, 44, whose employers are a British-Japanese couple living in Tiong Bahru.

Around 8.30pm on Monday, her mother finally picked up her call, although the connection was choppy.

The quake had severely disrupted telecommunications and electricity. Cianjur is located about 75km south of Jakarta, and her parents live in the regency’s Cibeber district.

Her mother told her that their house is still intact, and only the television and some vases broke due to the tremors. But her distant relatives were not as lucky.

Ms Dian’s nephew, who lives with her parents, later told her that her sister-in-law’s house, situated on hilly terrain, was flattened by the temblor, and the family of four were moved to a makeshift shelter.

The house of her sister-in-law, Nia, had concrete walls, bamboo reinforcements and corrugated metal sheets for the roof. Ms Nia’s husband, the family’s sole breadwinner, works in a wet market.

“I felt very sad. (Nia’s) family does not have much income. It is hard to get money for food, and now their house is destroyed,” said Ms Dian.

She later learnt from Ms Nia, 48, that the sister-in-law and her husband had gone out and left their two c...

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