Indonesia earthquake: Search underway as 5.6-tremor leaves dozens dead in West Java

Jakarta, Indonesia

Rescuers were digging through rubble on Tuesday in search of survivors of a powerful earthquake that destroyed homes and buildings and killed dozens in a heavily populated area of ​​West Java, Indonesia.

Monday’s quake killed 62 people, according to the country’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), but earlier, West Java governor Ridwan Kamil said more than 160 people had been killed. The reason for the difference remains unclear.

A 5.6-magnitude earthquake at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) struck West Java province’s Cianjur region around 1:21 p.m. local time on Monday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), causing buildings to collapse while a school was in progress. middle.

Workers inspect a school damaged by the earthquake in Chanjul, West Java.

Photos showed buildings in ruins, with bricks and shards of broken metal strewn across the streets. According to the BNPB, more than 700 people were injured and thousands were displaced.

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“Most of the dead were children,” Camille told reporters on Monday, adding that the death toll could rise further. “There have been so many incidents in several madrasahs.”

The powerful quake forced children to flee their classrooms, according to aid group Save the Children, which said more than 50 schools were affected.

Mia Saharosa, a teacher at one of the affected schools, said the quake was “a shock for all of us,” according to the group.

“We were all gathered in the fields, and the children were scared and crying, worried about their families at home,” Saharosa said. “We hugged each other, strengthened each other, and continued to pray.”

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City officials in Cianjur evacuate an injured colleague after the earthquake.

Zhanjur government official Herman Sukhman told the media that some residents were trapped in the rubble of the collapsed building. News channel Metro TV showed what appeared to be hundreds of victims being treated in a hospital parking lot.

Television footage showed residents huddled outside the building, which was almost completely reduced to rubble, according to Reuters.

One resident, Muchlis, said he felt “tremendous shaking” and the walls and ceiling of his office were damaged.

“I’m in total shock. I’m afraid there’s going to be another earthquake,” he told Metro TV.

Indonesia’s meteorological agency BMKG warned that there were 25 aftershocks in the first two hours after the quake, so landslides were possible, especially if there was heavy rain.

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Rescuers could not immediately reach some of the trapped people, he said, adding that the situation remained chaotic.

Government authorities are building tents and shelters for the victims while meeting their basic needs.

The collapsed Cianjur school building after the earthquake.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Rim’s “volcanic belt,” which is often triggered by earthquakes and volcanic activity. It is one of the most seismically active regions on Earth, stretching from Japan and Indonesia on one side of the Pacific Ocean to California and South America on the other.

In 2004, a 9.1-magnitude earthquake hit Sumatra in northern Indonesia, triggering a tsunami that affected 14 countries and killed 226,000 people along the coast of the Indian Ocean, more than half of whom were in Indonesia.


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