Strong earthquake topples houses in Java, Indonesia; 62 dead, hundreds injured

CIANJUR, Indonesia — A powerful, shallow earthquake collapsed buildings and walls on Indonesia’s densely populated main island on Monday, killing at least 62 and injuring hundreds as people fled into the streets, some covered in blood and debris.

Officials gathered information on the number of people injured and killed by the quake in the remote area.

Rescuers treated the injured on stretchers and blankets outside hospitals, on patios and in parking lots in the Cianjur region, about a three-hour drive from the capital, Java. The injured, including children, were given oxygen masks and IV lines and revived.

“I passed out. It was very strong,” said Hasan, a construction worker who, like many Indonesians, uses a name. “I saw my friends run to escape the building. But it was too late to get out and I got hit by the wall.”

Residents, some crying and holding children, fled damaged homes after the 5.6-magnitude quake struck the region in West Java province at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) late in the afternoon would have. It also sparked panic in Greater Jakarta, where high-rise buildings swayed and some people were evacuated.

Rescue teams and civilians in Cianjur searched for people buried in collapsed brick houses. In many homes, chunks of concrete and roof tiles fell into bedrooms.

Shopkeeper Dewi Risma was working with customers when the quake hit and ran to the exit.

“Vehicles on the road stopped because the tremor was very strong,” she said. “I felt it tremble 3 times but the first was the strongest for about 10 seconds. The shop next door to where I work had its roof collapsed and people said two were hit.”

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said the death toll had reached 62 and hundreds were injured. More than 5,000 people are evacuated.

25 people are still stuck under the rubble in the village of Cijedil, said agency spokesman Abdul Muhari.

Several landslides blocked roads around Cianjur district. Among the dozens of buildings damaged were an Islamic boarding school, a hospital and other public facilities, the agency said. Power outages have been reported.

West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said the local government, national police and Indonesian military were still collecting information.

“Because Cianjur is characterized by many places that are very remote, we need this data to determine the situation,” Kamil said.

Most of the victims and survivors were taken to the government hospital in Cianjur.

The Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics recorded at least 25 aftershocks.

“The quake felt so strong. My colleagues and I decided to exit our ninth-floor office via the emergency staircase,” said Vidi Primadhania, a worker in the capital, where many residents ran into the streets and others hid under desks.

The country of more than 270 million people is often hit by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis due to its location on the “Ring of Fire”, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

In February, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed at least 25 people and injured more than 460 in West Sumatra province. In January 2021, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake in West Sulawesi province killed more than 100 people and injured nearly 6,500.

A powerful Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in 2004 killed nearly 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Strong earthquake topples houses in Java, Indonesia; 62 dead, hundreds injured

Laura Coffey

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