At least forty-six people were killed and nearly 700 were injured on Monday November 21 in an earthquake that struck the island of Java, Indonesia, a local official told Agence France-Presse (AFP). “There were dozens of people killed. Hundreds, perhaps even thousands of homes are damaged.”said a spokesman of the Cianjur city administration (West Java).
An initial report reported nearly twenty dead and at least 300 wounded. “Most have broken bones after being stuck in the rubble of buildings”Cianjur city administration chief Herman Suherman told Metro TV. Mr Suherman also said relatives of the victims had gathered at Sayang hospital, warning that the toll could rise as villagers may still be trapped in the rubble. Authorities earlier said they had rescued a woman and child trapped in a landslide in Cianjur.
The epicenter was located near the town of Cianjur, where several roofs of buildings collapsed, about 100 kilometers south of Jakarta. Shops, a hospital and an Islamic college in the city suffered extensive damage in the earthquake, according to the local press. “We urge people to stay out of buildings for the time being, as there could be possible aftershocks”Director of the Indonesian Meteorological Agency, Dwikorita Karnawati, told reporters.
Earthquake also in Jakarta
The earthquake was also felt in the capital, according to Agence France-Presse reporters on the spot. No casualties or significant damage were immediately reported in Jakarta, but people rushed out of the buildings.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake’s magnitude was estimated at 5.4, versus 5.6, according to the Indonesian Geophysical Agency.
Indonesia is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which means it is prone to frequent earthquakes. In 2018, the island of Lombok and the neighboring island of Sumbawa were hit by a massive earthquake that killed more than 550 people.
The same year another earthquake measuring 7.5 caused a tsunami, which struck Palu, on the island of Sulawesi (Celebes Islands), causing the death or disappearance of 4,300 people.
The island of Java was instead hit by an earthquake of magnitude 6.3 in 2006, near the city of Yogyakarta (in the center), which had caused about 6,000 deaths and tens of thousands injured.
A year earlier, an 8.7-magnitude earthquake that hit the regularly-hit coast of Sumatra killed more than 900 people.
But the country remains marked by the earthquake of 26 December 2004 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.