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    Indonesian girl, seven, found dead after day-long quake rescue effort

    CIANJUR, INDONESIA – A seven-year-old Indonesian girl who was the subject of a day-long rescue effort after an earthquake killed at least 310 people in West Java has been found dead, rescuers told AFP yesterday.

    Emergency workers found the body of Ashika Nur Fauziah, also known as Cika, under rubble in the worst-hit district of Cugenang, the epicentre of the quake that triggered landslides, collapsed buildings and buried victims in mounds of earth on Monday.

    “The body was immediately handed over to the family,” 28-year-old rescuer Jeksen Kolibu told AFP. “The family… was very sad.”

    Dozens of rescuers spent most of Thursday using digging tools, hammers and their bare hands to clear debris in the delicate mission, which was suspended overnight. Cika was found under three layers of concrete yesterday morning, said Kolibu. Workers found her face-down, encased by debris, with little space to breathe.

    Ahmad Ashikin, father of seven-year-old Indonesian girl Ashika Nur Fauziah, reacts after rescue personnel found her dead under the rubble at Cugenang village, in Cianjur. PHOTO: AFP

    Rescuers covered her face and put her into a bodybag as her father Ahmad watched on, holding his head in despair. He did not utter a word as she was handed over to him.

    Cika was buried at a nearby cemetery less than an hour after being found.

    At the funeral, a cleric tried to calm a visibly emotional Ahmad.

    Cika was then wrapped in a white sheet and lowered into the ground by three men as exhausted volunteers and fire-fighters watched.

    Indonesia’s national disaster mitigation agency chief Suharyanto raised the toll from the quake to 310 yesterday.

    He said at least 24 people remain missing after the quake caused landslides and building collapses in the town of Cianjur.

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