World

Woman mourns fiance killed by quake day before wedding

Groom-to-be was one of more than 100 killed in Indonesia earthquake on Wednesday

DAYAH TIMU, INDONESIA It was her wedding day, but Miss Yusra Fitriani was weeping as she laid a ceremonial rose-printed cloth over her bridal bed. What was supposed to be the happiest day of her life turned to tragedy in a flash.

Instead of saying her wedding vows, she was grieving - her groom-to-be and seven members of his family were crushed to death as they slept after a violent earthquake struck Aceh in west Indonesia.

Her groom, Mr Suharnas, was among the more than 100 killed when the shallow 6.5-magnitude quake ripped through the province at dawn on Wednesday.

The quake felled homes and toppled mosques as many in the largely Muslim region were getting ready to pray.

OVERWHELMED

Those who managed to pull themselves from the rubble rushed to help their neighbours or limped to hospitals that were quickly overwhelmed and are appealing for aid.

Mr Suharnas sold watches at the marketplace beneath his home in Meureudu.

The small town was one of the hardest hit, with rescue crews confronted by scenes of utter destruction when they rushed to help those trapped.

When news reached Miss Fitriani's father, Mr Muhammad Yunus, that the Meureudu market had been destroyed, he raced to check on his future son-in-law, fearing the worst.

"As I approached the market, my heart was beating very fast," he told AFP. "It turned out his home had collapsed."

Rescuers pulled seven members of his family from the rubble. All had travelled to the village for the wedding.

It was not until late afternoon that Mr Suharnas' body was finally found.

Guests began arriving the next day, some bearing gifts for the couple, unaware of the tragedy that had taken place.

POSTERS

A cow had been purchased for the wedding feast. Handmade posters beamed "seeking your blessings" from the walls.

Mr Yunus said: "Everything was set, the bridal table and tents with a capacity of 1,000 guests."

Instead, guests were confronted by a grieving bride too distraught to talk and a family preparing for a funeral.

"Stay strong my child, this is a test from God," said her mother, Madam Rajiati, comforting her daughter in a room decorated for the wedding. - AFP

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