Indonesia quake kills 62, injures hundreds


A 5.6 magnitude earthquake has killed more than 60 people and injured hundreds in Indonesia’s West Java province, with rescuers trying to reach survivors trapped under rubble amid a series of aftershocks.

The epicenter was near the town of Cianjur in West Java, about 75 km southeast of the capital Jakarta, where some buildings shook and some offices were evacuated.

The Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said 62 people had been killed.

At least 25 people were trapped under collapsed buildings, he added.

BNPB spokesman Abdul Muhari said the search would continue overnight.

“So many buildings have crumbled and collapsed,” West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil told reporters.

“There are locals trapped in isolated places…so we’re assuming that the number of injuries and deaths will increase over time.”

Indonesia straddles the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, a very seismically active zone, where different plates of the earth’s crust meet and create a large number of earthquakes and volcanoes.

The BNPB said more than 2,200 homes had been damaged and more than 5,300 people had been displaced.

Electricity was down and disrupting communication efforts, said Herman Suherman, Cianjur’s government chief, adding that a landslide was blocking evacuations in one area.

Hundreds of victims were being treated in a hospital parking lot, some in an emergency tent.

Elsewhere in Cianjur, residents huddled on mats in open fields or in tents while the buildings around them were almost completely reduced to rubble.

Officials were still working to determine the extent of the damage from the quake, which struck at a relatively shallow depth of 10km, according to the Meteorological and Geophysical Agency (BMKG).

Vani, who was being treated at the main hospital in Cianjur, told MetroTV the walls of her home collapsed during an aftershock.

“The walls and the wardrobe just fell… Everything was flattened, I don’t even know where my mum and dad are,” she said.

In less than two hours, 25 aftershocks were recorded, BMKG said, adding that there were concerns of more landslides in the event of heavy rains.

In Jakarta, some people fled offices in the central business district while others reported earthquakes and displaced furniture, Reuters witnesses said.

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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