At the very least 56 useless in Indonesia earthquake

Cianjur (awp/afp) – A 5.6 magnitude earthquake on the Indonesian island of Java on Monday killed at least 56 people and injured hundreds more. Skyscrapers in the capital Jakarta were shaken.

According to the latest available data, “56 people were killed and more than 700 injured,” announced Ridwan Kamil, the governor of West Java province, during a press conference broadcast by Kompas TV.

“Due to the large number of people still stuck in place, we expect the number of dead and injured to increase,” the governor added.

For his part, Herman Suherman, the head of the administration of the city of Cianjur, near which the epicenter of the earthquake was located, spoke of a continuous influx of victims on the Metro TV channel.

According to him, Sayang Hospital in Cianjur has not had access to electricity since the earthquake, leaving doctors unable to operate on victims and authorities needing more medical staff due to the large number of patients.

Local residents transported the victims to the hospital in pick-up trucks and motorcycles, images obtained by AFP showed. The bodies of the deceased were laid out under a tarpaulin in front of the establishment.

“We are currently dealing with people in this hospital who are in an emergency situation. Ambulances continue to arrive at the hospital from the villages,” Herman Suherman said. “There are many families in villages that have not yet been evacuated.”

“Hundreds and maybe even thousands of homes were damaged by the earthquake,” Adam, a spokesman for the Cianjur government who, like many others, has only one name, told AFP.

Shops, a hospital and a Muslim boarding school in the city were badly damaged by the earthquake, according to local press.

Media showed several buildings in Cianjur whose roofs had collapsed.

“We urge people to stay outside of buildings for the time being due to possible aftershocks,” Dwikorita Karnawati, director of the Indonesian Meteorological Agency, told reporters.

Building evacuated in Jakarta

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), which initially estimated the magnitude of the earthquake at 5.4, the epicenter was near Cianjur, around 100 kilometers south of Jakarta.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage in Jakarta, but people stormed out of buildings in the capital. Mayadita Waluyo, a 22-year-old attorney, described the panic of staff rushing to the emergency exits.

“I was working when the ground was shaking. I could clearly feel the shaking,” she said.

Hundreds of people waited outside after the quake, some wearing hard hats to ward off falling debris, an AFP journalist reported.

French President Emmanuel Macron sent a “moving thought to all victims” and said in a tweet on Monday morning: “France stands in solidarity”.

Indonesia regularly faces earthquakes or volcanic eruptions due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where the tectonic plates meet.

In 2018, the island of Lombok and the neighboring island of Sumbawa were hit by a powerful earthquake that killed more than 550 people.

That same year, another 7.5 magnitude earthquake caused a tsunami that hit Palu on the island of Sulawesi, killing or disappearing 4,300 people.

For its part, the island of Java was hit by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake near the city of Yogyakarta (middle) in 2006, killing around 6,000 and injuring tens of thousands.

A year earlier, more than 900 people died in an 8.7-magnitude earthquake on the regularly affected coast of Sumatra.

However, the country remains scarred by the December 26, 2004 earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 off the coast of Sumatra.

It caused a large tsunami that killed 220,000 people across the region, including 170,000 in Indonesia alone, one of the deadliest natural disasters on record.


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