December 4, 2022

Bicol Express News

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5.6 magnitude quake hits Indonesia killing 160 people

Photo via Facebook

At least 160 people were reportedly killed in a 5.6 magnitude quake in Indonesia’s West Java province on Monday. Despite the continuing series of aftershocks, rescuers are racing against time searching for survivors trapped under the rubble

Reports said that the epicenter of the powerful quake was near the town of Cianjur in mountainous West Java, about 75 km (45 miles) southeast of the capital, Jakarta. The region is home to over 2.5 million people.

Ridwan Kamil, Governor of West Java said on Instagram that 162 people had been killed and another 326 individuals were reportedly injured.

The disaster mitigation agency of Indonesia (BNPB) still placed the death toll at 62 individuals. Rescuers were searching for another 25 individuals who are believed to be trapped under rubble. The rescuers’ spokesperson said the search would continue through the night.

Photo via Facebook

The West Java governor told reporters that given many buildings have collapsed, the death toll could increase. “There are residents trapped in isolated places, we are under the assumption that the number of injuries and deaths will rise with time”.

Indonesia bestrides in the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, a highly seismically active zone, where different plates on the Earth’s crust meet and create a large number of earthquakes and volcanoes.

The BNPB reported that around 2,200 houses had already been damaged and more than 5,300 individuals had been displaced. Ridwan put that number at 13,000 individuals. He said that those affected would be spread out at various evacuation centers across Cianjur.

Authorities said that basic services like electricity were out and the communications disrupted. Also, landslides were blocking evacuations in some areas. At least hundreds who sustained injuries received medical treatment in hospital parking lots and some under an emergency tent.

Also in Cianjur, residents huddled together on mats in open fields or in tents while buildings around them had been reduced to rubble. Ambulance continues to arrive at the hospital late into the night, bringing more victims to the hospital.

According to the weather and geophysics agency (BMKG), local authorities are working non-stop to estimate the full extent of the damage which struck at a relatively shallow depth of 10 km.

Vani, one of the quake victims being treated at Cianjur main hospital, told the media that the walls of her house collapsed during an aftershock. “The walls and wardrobe just fell … Everything was flattened, I don’t even know the whereabouts of my mother and father,” she said.

Photo via Facebook

There were 88 aftershocks recorded, the West Java governor said, while weather agency BMKG warned of more landslides in the event of heavy rain.

Another quake survivor, Cucu, 48 from Cianjur said she was searching for one of her seven children. “The children were downstairs and I was upstairs getting laundry. Everything collapsed beneath me. One of my kids is still missing,” she added.

In Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, some people left offices in the central business district. Some witnesses told reporters that buildings shook and furniture moved during the 5.6 magnitude quake.

Back in 2004, a powerful 9.1 magnitude quake off Sumatra Island in the northern part of Indonesia caused a massive tsunami that struck 14 countries. The tsunami killed 226,000 people along the Indian Ocean coastline; more than half of those who perished came from Indonesia.