Death toll in Indonesia earthquake increased to 602 after new count

After a new count, the death toll jumped to 602 in one of the deadliest earthquakes that hit Java, Indonesia last month, said a local administration official on Friday after unreported casualties were verified by the authorities across the town.

On November 21 Cianjur, the most populous province of West Java was hit by a 5.6-magnitude earthquake which triggered landslides and collapsed buildings, killing many. 

Spokesperson of Cianjur local administration Adam said that the new death toll of 602, which has increased from the earlier toll of 334, was finalised on the basis of data collected from the town’s residents.

He added that a lot of relatives had rushed to bury their people without reporting their the authorities about their death.

“If someone dies, residents in Cianjur often immediately bury them. Because of the panicked situation, those who died were immediately buried by relatives without notifying the local health agency,” Adam said. 

“It was later revealed that around 600 people died when it is officially counted,” he stated, citing the new figure of 602 finalised by the administration.

The new death toll was posted by BPBD, a local rescue agency on social media. 

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However, the spokesperson of the National disaster mitigation agency Abdul Muhari said that it will stick to a lower death toll, which was 335, while they are working towards verification of new figures.

“Because they were immediately buried and were not reported, their names were not included in the missing people list,” Muhari said.

“The district head said they already have the data, regardless we still need to verify,” he added. Muhari said that relatives, in order to receive government aid, need to remove their dead relatives from their family registry and get a death certificate issued from local authorities. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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