Rescuers were digging through rubble on Tuesday to find survivors of a powerful earthquake that destroyed homes and buildings in a densely populated area in Indonesia’s West Java province, killing at least 268 people.
The country’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) said another 151 people were still missing and more than 1,000 were injured.
The 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck Cianjur district in West Java at around 1:21 p.m. local time Monday at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), according to the USGS, causing buildings to collapse. while studying at school. It was underway.
The scale of the deaths and devastation caused by the quake became increasingly clear on Tuesday, after officials reported earlier discrepancies in the reported death toll.
Major General Suharyanto of the Burundi National Police Office said on Tuesday that more than 22,000 homes have been destroyed and more than 58,000 people have been displaced.
Pictures showed buildings reduced to rubble, with broken bricks and scrap metal littering the streets.
“Most of the dead were children,” Ridwan Kamil, West Java’s governor, told reporters on Monday, adding that the death toll was likely to rise further. “Many incidents have occurred in many Islamic schools.”
Strong tremors forced children to flee their classrooms, according to Save the Children, which said more than 50 schools were affected.
Mia Saharosa, a teacher at one of the affected schools, said the earthquake “was a shock to all of us,” according to the group.
“We all gathered in the square, and the children were terrified, crying and worried about their families at home,” Sahrosa said. “We hug each other, we strengthen each other, we continue to pray.”
Hermann Sehrmann, a government official in Cianjur, told the media that some residents were trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings. Metro TV news channel showed what appeared to be hundreds of victims being treated in the hospital’s parking garage.
Television footage showed residents huddled outside buildings that were almost completely reduced to rubble, according to Reuters.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, while visiting quake-affected areas on Tuesday, said the government will offer compensation of about $3,200 each to owners of badly damaged homes.
Jokowi added that the houses must be rebuilt into earthquake-resistant buildings.
One resident, who gave his name only as Mochlis, said he felt a “strong shake” and the walls and ceiling of his office were damaged.
“I was very shocked. I’m afraid there will be another earthquake,” he told Metro TV.
The Indonesian Meteorological Bureau, BMKG, warned of the danger of landslides, especially in the event of heavy rains, as 25 aftershocks were recorded in the first two hours after the earthquake.
He said rescuers were not immediately able to reach some of those trapped, adding that the situation was still chaotic.
Government authorities are building tents and shelters for the victims while meeting their basic needs.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin offered his “deepest condolences” in the wake of the loss of life while speaking at the multilateral meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cambodia on Tuesday.
Indonesia sits on the “Ring of Fire,” a band around the Pacific Ocean that experiences frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity. One of the most seismically active regions on the planet, stretching from Japan and Indonesia on one side of the Pacific Ocean to California and South America on the other.
In 2004, a 9.1-magnitude earthquake off the island of Sumatra in northern Indonesia triggered a tsunami that struck 14 countries, killing 226,000 people along the Indian Ocean coast, more than half of them in Indonesia.
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