Strong tremors hit Indonesia, over 150 killed

The 5.6 magnitude quake struck Cianjur town in the West Java region of the country at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers killing 162 people and wounding many

RH Desk
November 22

At least 162 people have been killed in an earthquake on the main Indonesian island of Java, agency reports said.

The 5.6 magnitude quake struck Cianjur town in West Java, at a shallow depth of 10km (6 miles), according to US Geological Survey data.

The US Geological Survey said the quake, which struck late in the afternoon, was centred in the Cianjur region of West Java province.

Ridwan Kamil, the governor of West Java, said 162 people had been killed.

“The majority of those who died were children,” he said, adding that many were students who were taking extra lessons. “So many incidents occurred at several Islamic schools.”

Indonesia is especially vulnerable to earthquakes because of its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, the most seismically and volcanically active zone in the world.

Gen Suharyanto, the head of Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency, said the nearby Sayang hospital had no power after the quake, hampering efforts to treat victims, and that more medical staff were needed.

Mus Mustopa, who lives in Padaluyu, a village in Cianjur, told Indonesia’s Kompas TV that he helped a family recover the body of an 80-year-old woman who had died in the quake. It happened suddenly, he said. “I wasn’t prepared and saw houses reduced to rubble … Some 50 houses are damaged, with around 10 being heavily damaged.”

Several landslides were reported across Cianjur. Dozens of buildings were damaged, including an Islamic boarding school, a hospital, and other public facilities said the National Disaster Management Agency. Information was still being collected about the extent of casualties and damage, the agency added.

Rescue workers and volunteers searched for victims who were trapped or injured beneath the rubble of collapsed buildings.

The quake was felt in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, about 60 miles (100km) away, where some buildings were evacuated, and high-rises were shaken.

The US Geological Surveys’s Pager system estimated that up to 242,000 people were exposed to “very strong shaking” and up to 978,000 people to “strong shaking”.

Mayadita Waluyo, a 22-year-old lawyer, told Agence France-Presse that panicked workers ran for the exits of their building in Jakarta as the quake struck. “I was working when the floor under me was shaking. I could feel the tremor clearly,” she said, adding that she walked down from the 14th floor.

Indonesia’s meteorological agency warned residents near the center of the quake to watch out for further tremors. “We call on people to stay outside the buildings for now as there might be potential aftershocks,” Dwikorita Karnawati, the director of the agency, told reporters.

In February, a magnitude-6.2 earthquake killed at least 25 people and injured more than 460 others in West Sumatra province. In January 2021, a quake of a similar magnitude killed more than 100 people and injured nearly 6,500 in West Sulawesi province.

A powerful Indian Ocean quake and tsunami in 2004 killed nearly 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia.

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