CIANJUR, Indonesia: The incessant cries can be heard from tens of metres away, echoing off the walls of Sayang Public Hospital in the quiet town of Cianjur, Indonesia.
The sedative injected into his body had worn off, and five-year-old Azka Maulana Malik, a survivor of a 5.6-magnitude quake which hit the region on Monday, was in pain.
There were barely any cuts and bruises on his skin, which made some medical workers suspect that the boy might have internal injuries. The hospital is set to run tests and examinations on Thursday (Nov 24) to determine whether this was the case.
Azka had made headlines across Indonesia for surviving more than 48 hours trapped beneath the rubble of his devastated home. When rescuers finally evacuated him, Azka was weak and dehydrated after two days without food and water.
A video of his rescue soon went viral and Azka was hailed as a miracle and symbol of hope amid a disaster which claimed the lives of more than 250 people.
The moment he was taken to Sayang Hospital, dozens of senior government officials came to see him, including Indonesia’s coordinating minister for politics, legal and security, Mohammad Mahfud Mahmodin and chief of the Indonesian Military Andika Perkasa.
Azka did not seem to care about the steady stream of dignitaries, fellow patients, medical workers and volunteers eager to meet him, including when one of them gifted him with a bicycle. He was too weak to stay awake and by the time the pain woke him up, Azka immediately asked for his mother, Eti Suryati.
“I didn’t have the heart to tell him, so I just ignored him,” Azka’s father, Muhammad Eka told CNA as he struggled to contain his tears.
Suryati was killed when their two-storey home collapsed, as was Azka’s maternal grandmother, Endah. His 14 year-old sister, Elsa Rahmawati, had broken bones when a wall collapsed on her as she was returning from school.
REFUSED TO GIVE UP HOPE
Eka was 200km away for work when the quake hit. Less than an hour before his house was levelled to the ground, he had a video call with Azka and Suryati, telling them how much he missed them.
Eka said he learned about the quake from media reports. He tried calling everyone who might know what had happened to his family but to no avail, as the quake with an epicentre just around 10km from his village had also disrupted power lines and cellular services.
Eka immediately rushed to Cianjur, arriving late in the evening to find his village, Rawa Cina, in ruins.
“I just froze when I saw what happened to my house,” he recounted.
There were no audible cries for help coming from underneath the piles of concrete slabs, bricks and wooden roof frames. People in his village assumed that everyone inside could not have survived.