Earthquake Hits Indonesia’s Java Island

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EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (Flickr of CC0)

A strong earthquake rattled Indonesia’s Java island on Sunday, November 20, killing at least 56 people and injuring 708 others. There were 700 people were injured, National Disaster Mitigation Agency chief Suharyanto said. The death toll reached 56 as of Monday evening, according to Herman Suherman, the head of the Cianjur district.

Terrified residents fled into the street, some covered in blood and debris. The U.S. Geological Survey said the 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck West Java at 1:21 p.m. local time (1:21 a.m. ET).

The residents trapped in isolated places are a result of the number of injured and deaths rising with time.

The 6.4-magnitude tremor struck the town of Sumenep in East Java province, causing buildings to collapse and roads to buckle. Rescue workers continue to search for survivors as “people remain trapped under rubble”.

Hundreds of homes were damaged, including a boarding school, a hospital, and several government buildings. Also, several landslides also reported around the epicenter.  Information was still being collected about the extent of the casualties and damage, the disaster agency said in a statement.

The quake felt strongly in the greater Jakarta area. Skyscrapers in the capital swayed and some evacuated. Many of the dead were public school students who had finished their classes for the day and were taking extra lessons at several Islamic schools when they collapsed.

Two people were killed when a mosque collapsed in the town of Sumedang.

The powerful tremor struck at 8.02 a.m. on Sunday (00:02 GMT) in the Bantul district in Yogyakarta province, south of the capital Jakarta.

Rescue workers continue to search for survivors while many remain trapped under rubble since the quake struck early on Sunday morning. Earthquakes are usually caused when the underground rock suddenly breaks and there is rapid motion along a fault.

As a result, it caused widespread damage to houses and roads. The quake struck at a depth of 20 kilometers (12 miles), the US Geological Survey said.  The Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics said there was no risk of a tsunami.

Earthquakes are very dangerous and deadly.

Witnesses described scenes of panic as buildings collapsed onto people and cars. Some survivors were pulled from the rubble by bystanders and swiftly taken to the hospital.

During a search and rescue operation in Tasikmalaya, emergency workers found a family trapped inside their house with no signs of life. At least five children died when a school collapsed there too, according to reports by Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Roughly 175,000 people live in the town of Cianjur, part of a mountainous district of the same name with more than 2.5 million people.

The 1960 year Valdivia earthquake and tsunami on 22 May 1960 was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded.

Kamil said that more than 13,000 people’s homes have been heavily damaged. Emergency workers treated the injured on stretchers and blankets outside hospitals. The injured, including children, got oxygen masks and IV lines, and some were resuscitated.

Residents, some crying and holding their children, fled damaged homes after the magnitude 5.6 quake shook the region in West Java. It also caused panic in the greater Jakarta area, where high-rises swayed and some people evacuated. In many homes in Cianjur, chunks of concrete and roof tiles fell inside bedrooms.

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

Shopkeeper Dewi Risma was working with customers when the quake hit, and she ran for the exit. The vehicles on the road stopped because the quake was very strong. Twenty-five people are still stuck buried in the debris in Cijedil village.

Several landslides closed roads around the Cianjur district. The country of more than 270 million people is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis because of its location.

In January 2021, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed more than 100 people and injured nearly 6,500 in West Sulawesi province. A powerful Indian Ocean quake and tsunami in 2004 killed nearly 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia.

Written By Armon Evans

Sources :

NBC News – At least 162 killed and 700 hurt as earthquake hits Indonesia’s Java island By  and 

ABC News – At least 62 killed as earthquake strikes Java, Indonesia By Randy Mulyanto and Kevin Shalvey

CNBC – Strong quake topples buildings on Indonesia’s Java island, killing at least 162

Top and Featured Image by Vicente Raimundo EU/ECHO Courtesy of EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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