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Babies Quake Survivors Seek Treatment in Banda Aceh

BY NURDIN HASAN (THE JAKARTA GLOBE)
Ten-month-old Hafis Mahardika, one of infants who fell victim to Tuesday's earthquake in Central Aceh district, accompanied by his mother Fitriani being treated at Zainoel Abidin General Hospital in Banda Aceh on Friday, July 5, 2013. Nurdin Hasan/PHOTO 

Banda Aceh, TAG – The small body with bandaged head lay limply on the hospital bed. His breathing was labored. Ten-month-old Hafis Mahardika was just one of many infants who fell victim to Tuesday’s deadly earthquake in Central Aceh.


The infant was accompanied by his mother Fitriani, 23, while receiving intensive treatment at the Zainoel Abidin General Hospital (RSUZA) in Banda Aceh on Friday.
The previous day he underwent surgery intended to repair his skull, damage to which was impacting on his brain.
Hafis was flown to Banda Aceh along with four other young children on Wednesday afternoon after the Manyang Kute Hospital in Bener Meriah, located in one of the worst-hit areas, gave up due to lack of proper equipment.
Angga and Ali Zuriansyah, both aged 4, Naili Shakila, who is 2, and Sabilisma, aged just 13 days, were among other young patients treated for serious head injuries by the RSUZA intensive care unit after their houses collapsed in the 6.2-magnitude quake.
Fitriani said her son was in a stable condition after undergoing more than two hours of surgery, adding that he was crying less and able to sleep a little.
She said her son was being carried by his grandmother, Mujiyem when the quake struck. They had just reached the terrace house when it collapsed on them.
“The house collapsed immediately when the quake shook. It was a very strong quake and so with one jolt it was able to bring down the house,” Fitriani said.
In a common scenario, the infant was at home but the mother was not. Fitriani and her husband Rahmadi rushed home to find both the grandmother and baby bleeding after they sustained head injuries.
To seek treatment, the parents drove tens of kilometers by motorbike on roads made barely passable due to landslides.
“I just prayed to God to save my son’s life. I’m very sad,” said an emotional Fitriani.
Yet she held out hope for her son’s recovery and a return to the life the family led before the disaster.
“I hope my son will recover soon so we can go back to our village. Our house is damaged. I don’t know about the fate of our relatives there. I just want to be with the rest of the family again, even though our house is damaged,” she said.
Angga also sustained head injuries when his house collapsed. His mother, Erni Listiani, 24, said he was playing inside when the quake happened.
“I was going to run inside the house to grab Angga, but the house collapsed instantly when the quake hit,” Erni said.
The son of a neighbor helped Erni search for her son in the rubble.
She said the rescuer had managed to enter the house through a window. She was relieved that the baby was able to be located through his cries, although his head had been badly injured.
Meanwhile, the other 4-year-old, Ali, had been watching television with his siblings when the quake struck. “His older brothers managed to get out when the quake hit, but Ali was trapped inside,” Supari, the mother, explained.
She said that she was in a nearby field when disaster struck. “I went home to find that my house had been flattened,” she said.
Supari was assisted by her brother in the search for Ali, who was found face down in the rubble, unconscious and with his head bleeding.
Another patient at the same hospital, 5-year-old Sofi Az-Zahra, had succumbed to her injuries, predominantly head trauma, on Thursday. Doctors said she was already in grave condition upon arrival at RSUZA on Thurday afternoon after flown from Bener Meriah.
The infant died while being treated by doctors earlier Friday, according to staff at the hospital.
“Sofi was in a coma when she was brought in. She died early this morning,” said an RSUZA emergency room paramedic.
Data provided by volunteer emergency responders in Central Aceh and Bener Meriah indicated that almost half of the fatalities were babies and children who were at home when the quake hit.
Data from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said the quake had killed 30 people, while other reports put the death toll at just over 40.
Northern Sumatra is prone to earthquakes, with the 2004 tsunami near Aceh that killed more than 170,000 people in the province and 2009 Padang quake proving deadly.[]
Babies Quake Survivors Seek Treatment in Banda Aceh Babies Quake Survivors Seek Treatment in Banda Aceh Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on July 06, 2013 Rating: 5

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