Earthquake in Indonesia: 162 dead and hundreds injured on the island of Java
- Tessa Wong
An earthquake has struck the Indonesian island of Java, killing about 162 people and injuring hundreds, according to Ridwan Camil, the region’s governor.
The earthquake measured 5.6 on the Richter scale at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers in the town of Cianjur in West Java, according to the US Geological Survey.
Dozens of injured were taken to hospital, many treated abroad.
Rescuers made every effort until nightfall to rescue others believed to be still trapped beneath collapsed buildings.
The area where the earthquake struck is densely populated and prone to landslides with poorly built homes leading to house collapses in many areas.
There are conflicting reports as to the true number of deaths, and given the ongoing search and rescue efforts, it’s difficult to come up with a definitive figure.
Indonesia’s National Agency for Disaster Risk Reduction had previously announced that at least 62 people had been killed, according to the latest data available at the time.
Officials said more than 13,000 people had fled their homes and the agency reported more than 2,200 people were affected.
Ridwan Kamil, the governor of West Java, said earlier that more than 700 people were injured.
He added that the number of injured and dead is likely to rise now because “many people” are still trapped in the quake-hit area, with one area closed due to a landslide.
“There have been a number of casualties in many areas and around 700 people have been injured,” Hermann Suhrmann, chief administrator of the city of Cianjur, told local media.
And news agency Agence France-Presse previously quoted him as saying most of the injuries were broken bones suffered by people trapped in the rubble inside the buildings.
“Ambulances continue to transport victims from the villages to the hospital,” he said.
“There are many families in the villages who have not been evacuated,” he added.
Videos on social media showed the demolition of homes and businesses.
The National Disaster Reduction Agency said in a statement that dozens of buildings in Cianjur district were damaged, including a hospital and an Islamic boarding school.
In the capital, Jakarta, office workers stormed out of buildings in the administrative and business districts during the tremor, which lasted about a minute.
“I was working when the earthquake happened and I clearly felt the earthquake. I didn’t do anything during it and it (the earthquake) got stronger and lasted for some time,” lawyer Mayadita Waluyo told AFP.
“We used to have earthquakes in Jakarta, but now people are very tense, so we panicked too,” a staffer, Ahmed Rizwan, told Reuters.
Earthquakes are common in Indonesia, which lies in an area dubbed the “Ring of Fire” due to tectonic activity in the Pacific Ocean.
The country has experienced a history of devastating earthquakes and tsunamis, including the 2018 Sulawesi earthquake that killed more than two thousand people.
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