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

Jakarta, Indonesia

Rescuers were searching for survivors on Tuesday after a powerful earthquake toppled houses and buildings in a densely populated area of ​​Indonesia’s West Java province, killing more than 100 people.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), a 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck the Sianjur region of West Java at around 1:21 p.m. local time on Monday at a depth of 10 kilometers, collapsing buildings during school classes. continued.

According to the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) on Tuesday, the death toll reached 103 people, most of whom were trapped under the collapsed buildings. Earlier, the governor of West Java, Ridwan Kamil, said that more than 160 people were killed – the reason for the disagreement is unknown.

A villager looks at destroyed houses in Sianjur on November 22, 2022.

In the photos, buildings are reduced to rubble, and bricks and pieces of broken metal are strewn on the streets. According to BNPB, more than 700 people were injured and thousands more were displaced.

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“Most of the dead were children,” Kamil told reporters on Monday, adding that the death toll was likely to rise. “There have been many incidents in some Islamic schools.”

Villagers salvage items from destroyed houses following the 5.6-magnitude earthquake in Sianjur on November 22, 2022.

The powerful earthquake 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 was “a big shock for all of us”.

“We all gathered in the field, the children were scared and crying and worried about their families at home,” Saharosa said. “We embrace each other, we strengthen each other and we continue to pray.”

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Municipal workers in Sianjur evacuate an injured colleague after the earthquake.

Herman Suherman, a government official in Sianjur, told media that some residents were trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings. Metro TV reported that hundreds of victims appeared to be receiving treatment in the hospital parking lot.

Television footage showed residents huddled outside buildings that Reuters reported were almost completely reduced to rubble.

One resident, identified only as Muchlis, said he felt a “huge shake” and that the walls and ceiling of his office were damaged.

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

Workers inspect a school damaged by an earthquake in Cianchuri, West Java.

Indonesia’s weather bureau BMKG warned of the risk of landslides, especially in the event of heavy rain, as 25 aftershocks were recorded in the first two hours after the quake.

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

Government authorities are building tents and shelters for the victims, along with providing their basic needs.

As a result of the earthquake, the building of the Sianjur school collapsed.

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

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


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