Indonesia earthquake: Research underway as 5.6 magnitude quake kills over 200 in West Java

Jakarta, Indonesia

Rescuers were digging through debris on Tuesday for survivors of a powerful earthquake that toppled homes and buildings in a densely populated area of ​​Indonesia’s West Java province, killing at least 268 people.

Another 151 people are still missing and more than 1,000 have been injured, the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) said.

The magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck the Cianjur region in West Java around 1:21 p.m. local time Monday at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), causing the collapse of buildings during schoolyards. were in progress.

The scale of death and destruction caused by the earthquake became increasingly clear on Tuesday, after earlier discrepancies in the reported death toll were pointed out by officials.

More than 22,000 homes have been destroyed and more than 58,000 people have been displaced, BNPB Major General Suharyanto said on Tuesday.

A villager looks at damaged houses in Cianjur on November 22, 2022.

Photos showed buildings reduced to rubble, with bricks and shattered pieces of metal strewn across the streets.

“The majority of those who died were children,” West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil told reporters on Monday, adding that the death toll was likely to rise further. “So many incidents have happened in several Islamic schools.”

Villagers collect items from damaged houses following a 5.6 magnitude earthquake in Cianjur on November 22, 2022.

The powerful tremors 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 earthquake “came as a shock to all of us”, according to the group.

“We all gathered in the field, the children were terrified and crying, worried about their families back home,” Saharosa said. “We stick together, we grow stronger and we keep praying.”

Cianjur municipal workers evacuate a colleague injured in the earthquake.

Herman Suherman, a government official in Cianjur, told media that some residents were trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings. The Metro TV news channel showed what appeared to be hundreds of victims being treated in a hospital parking lot.

Television footage showed residents huddled in front of buildings almost completely reduced to rubble, according to Reuters.

Visiting quake-affected areas on Tuesday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the government would provide compensation of up to about $3,200 each to owners of heavily damaged homes.

Homes should be rebuilt as earthquake-resistant buildings, Jokowi added.

A resident, named only as Muchlis, said he felt “a huge tremor” and the walls and ceiling of his office were damaged.

“I was very shocked. I was worried there would be another earthquake,” he told Metro TV.

Workers inspect an earthquake-damaged school in Cianjur, West Java.

The Indonesian meteorological office, BMKG, warned of a risk of landslides, especially in the event of heavy rains, since 25 aftershocks were recorded in the first two hours after the earthquake.

Rescuers were unable to immediately reach some of the trapped people, he said, adding that the situation remains chaotic.

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

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, meanwhile, offered his “sincere condolences” over the loss of life during a speech at the ASEAN multilateral meeting in Cambodia on Tuesday.

A school building in Cianjur collapsed after the earthquake.

Indonesia sits on the “Ring of Fire”, a band around the Pacific Ocean that triggers frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity. One of the most active seismic zones on the planet, it stretches from Japan and Indonesia on one side of the Pacific to California and South America on the other.

In 2004, a magnitude 9.1 earthquake off the island of Sumatra in northern Indonesia triggered a tsunami that struck 14 countries, killing 226,000 people along the ocean coast Indian, more than half of them in Indonesia.

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