46 dead as Indonesia quake shakes Java island
CIANJUR, Indonesia – A shallow 5.6-magnitude earthquake killed at least 46 people and injured hundreds when it damaged buildings and triggered landslides on Indonesia’s main island of Java on Monday (21), officials said.
The afternoon quake was centred in the Cianjur region of West Java, according to the United States Geological Survey, and was felt as far away as the capital Jakarta, where panicked residents ran into the streets.
“The latest data, 46 people were killed. Victims kept coming from many areas. Around 700 people were injured,” Herman Suherman, head of Cianjur’s local administration, told broadcaster Kompas TV.
The majority of deaths were counted in one hospital, he said earlier, with most of the victims killed in the ruins of collapsed buildings.
He said the town’s Sayang hospital had no power after the quake, leaving doctors unable to operate on victims.
Locals rushed victims to the hospital on pickup trucks and motorbikes, according to footage obtained by AFP.
They were placed in front of the facility as residents spread a tarpaulin on the road for the bodies.
Suherman said electricity was still down and authorities also needed more health workers due to the overwhelming number of patients.
Thousands of houses could have been damaged in the quake, Adam, a spokesperson for the administration who, like many Indonesians, goes by one name, told AFP.
Shops, a hospital and an Islamic boarding school in the town were severely damaged, according to Indonesian media.
Broadcasters showed several buildings in Cianjur with their roofs collapsed and debris lining the streets.
Relatives of victims congregated at the hospital. Suherman warned the death toll could rise because villagers outside the town may still be trapped.
“We are currently handling people who are in an emergency state in this hospital. The ambulances keep on coming from the villages to the hospital,” he said.
“There are many families in villages that have not been evacuated.”
Indonesia’s disaster chief Suharyanto, who also goes by one name, said at least 14 people had died in the Cianjur area but said information was “still developing”.
Cianjur police chief Doni Hermawan told Metro TV authorities had rescued a woman and a baby from a landslide but a third person they found had died of their injuries.
Indonesia’s meteorological agency warned residents near the quake to watch out for more tremors.
“We call on people to stay outside the buildings for now as there might be potential aftershocks,” the head of Indonesia’s meteorological agency, Dwikorita Karnawati, told reporters.
The USGS had earlier reported the quake’s magnitude at 5.4.
There were no reports of casualties or major damage in Jakarta.
Mayadita Waluyo, a 22-year-old lawyer, described how panicked workers ran for the exits of their building in Jakarta as the quake struck.
“I was working when the floor under me was shaking. I could feel the tremor clearly. I tried to do nothing to process what it was but it became even stronger and lasted for some time,” she said.
“I feel a bit dizzy now and my legs are also a bit cramped because I had to walk downstairs from the 14th floor.”
Hundreds of people were waiting outdoors after the quake, including some wearing hard hats to protect themselves from falling debris, an AFP reporter there said.
Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide.
A 6.2-magnitude quake that shook Sulawesi island in January 2021 killed more than 100 people and left thousands homeless.
– Agence France-Presse
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