Indonesia earthquake kills at least 162 in West Java

Hundreds injured after 5.6-magnitude tremor causes buildings to collapse

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Rescuers were working into the night after 162 people were killed and hundreds injured in an earthquake that shook Indonesia's main island of Java on Monday.

The country's disaster mitigation agency, BNPB, initially said 62 people had been killed, with at least 25 others trapped under collapsed buildings.

West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil late on Monday said the number confirmed dead had risen to 162.

“The majority of those who died were children,” Mr Kamil said.

Many were public school pupils who had finished their regular classes for the day and were taking extra lessons at Islamic schools, he said.

Cianjur is known for having a large number of Islamic boarding schools and mosques.

BNPB representative Abdul Muhari said the search for survivors buried in rubble would continue into Tuesday morning.

“So many buildings crumbled and shattered,” Mr Kamil said.

“There are residents trapped in isolated places … so we are under the assumption that the number of injured and deaths will rise with time.”

The US Geological Survey said the magnitude-5.6 quake was centred in the Cianjur region in West Java province, about 100km from the capital Jakarta, at a depth of 10km.

Landslides were reported around Cianjur. Dozens of buildings were damaged, including an Islamic boarding school, a hospital and other public centres, the agency said.

Information was still being collected about the extent of casualties and damage, it said.

Authorities rescued two people trapped by a landslide in Cianjur but said a third had died.

“We managed to evacuate a woman and a baby alive but the other one passed away. That is the only thing I can share for now,” Cianjur police chief Doni Hermawan told broadcaster Metro TV.

The quake was felt strongly in the greater Jakarta area. High rises in the city swayed and some were evacuated.

“The quake felt so strong. My colleagues and I decided to get out of our office on the ninth floor using the emergency stairs,” Vidi Primadhania, an employee in South Jakarta, told AFP.

UAE President Sheikh Mohamedsent a message of condolences to Indonesian President Joko Widodo after the deadly quake.

Sheikh Mohamed wished a speedy recovery for all those injured.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, sent a similar message to Mr Widodo.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation expressed its sincere condolences to the government and people of Indonesia, and to the families of the victims of the calamity.

The ministry hoped for a speedy recovery for the injured.

Earthquakes occur frequently across the sprawling archipelago nation, but it is uncommon for them to be felt in Jakarta.

The country of more than 270 million people is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

In February, a magnitude-6.2 earthquake killed at least 25 people and injured more than 460 in West Sumatra province.

In January 2021, another magnitude-6.2 quake killed more than 100 people and injured nearly 6,500 in West Sulawesi province.

In 2004, a powerful earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the resulting tsunami killed nearly 230,000 people in a dozen countries around the Indian Ocean.

Indonesia's meteorological agency told residents in Cianjur to be prepared for more tremors after Monday's earthquake.

“We call on people to stay outside the buildings for now as there might be aftershocks,” agency chief Dwikorita Karnawati said.

With reporting from agencies

Updated: November 23, 2022, 5:04 AM
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