Indonesian Quake Survivor’s ‘Blessing’: Baby Born in a Tent

Indonesian Quake Survivor’s ‘Blessing’: Baby Born in a Tent
Rohmat Kartini, 35, a pregnant woman, is evacuated to a relief centre after an earthquake hit Sukamulya, in Cianjur, West Java Province, Indonesia, on Nov. 23, 2022. (Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters)

CIANJUR, Indonesia—A couple of days after Indonesia’s deadly earthquake, heavily pregnant Rohmat Kartini began experiencing contractions.

Having narrowly escaped Monday’s quake with her husband, Rohmat had to be driven for hours on roads clogged with debris and mud to a makeshift medical center set up in a tent in an open field.

While others grappled with the devastating aftermath of the magnitude-5.6 quake, which killed at least 271 people in western Java, Rohmat and her husband Solihin welcomed their fourth child.

“Perhaps this earthquake carried its own blessing for my wife, because my wife was handled by specialist doctors who were very good. My wife made it into labor, the baby was born and I am happy with the blessings,” Solihin said, holding the baby boy wrapped in a purple blanket.

Obstetrician Monica Wulandari, who delivered the baby, said the process was made all the more difficult by aftershocks and limited medical equipment and medication.

Indonesia is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries, regularly recording strong earthquakes offshore where fault lines run.

Monday’s quake, followed by more than 160 aftershocks, was particularly deadly because it struck a densely populated area at a depth of just 10 km (6 miles). Poor construction standards also caused buildings to collapse, officials said.