KAYANGAN, Indonesia — Falling rubble instantly paralyzed Mary Andoni from the waist down when Indonesia was shaken by one of its deadliest earthquakes in years. But there was nobody in her destroyed village to get her the help she needed. There were too many other injured and dead.
“It was overwhelming,” Andoni’s 35-year-old brother-in-law, Ilham, said of the chaotic aftermath of Sunday’s magnitude 7.0 quake on the island of Lombok. “There was no way to get her out.”
On Thursday, paramedics finally evacuated Andoni to a hospital in the city of Mataram. But her story underscores the challenges facing this devastated region: Four days after the earthquake killed hundreds of people and displaced 270,000 more, injured survivors in remote areas cut off by landslides and broken bridges are still emerging from the ruined countryside, struggling to reach the doctors they desperately need. And the crisis is not over.
Lombok has been hit by over 300 aftershocks, including a 5.9 magnitude tremor on Thursday that brought down more buildings and injured 24 more people, authorities said. In northern Lombok, some people leaped from their vehicles on a traffic-jammed road when the aftershock hit, while an elderly woman standing in the back of a pickup truck wailed “God is Great.” An Associated Press reporter in Mataram saw about a dozen people being treated at a hospital while fearful staff moved patients outside.
At a first aid station in Kayangan that was set up under a sprawling tent because of the threat of more quakes, Dr. Mohammad Akbar said medical staff were combing the region with an ambulance to locate injured people.
By 3 p.m., he said, they had found and treated 40 people with broken bones, cuts and bruises.
“They’re all stuck in isolated areas with little or no transport,” Akbar said. “They’re too weak to get here on their own, so we need to go to them.”
Navy Col. Andi Abdullah, an orthopedic surgeon stationed on the huge gray vessel, said military doctors had received 46 survivors so far, and performed surgery on 16.