Rescuers dig through rubble to find survivors of a powerful earthquake that toppled homes and buildings and killed more than 100 people in a heavily populated area of Indonesia’s West Java province on Tuesday.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck at a depth of 10 kilometers in the Cianjur region of West Java on Monday at 1:21 p.m. local time, causing buildings to collapse during school classes. they were on their way.
The death toll rose to 103 on Tuesday, with most trapped under collapsed buildings, according to the country’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB). Earlier, the governor of West Java, Ridwan Kamil, said more than 160 people had been killed – the reason for the discrepancy is unclear.
Photos show buildings in ruins, bricks and broken metal strewn on the streets. According to BNPB, more than 700 people were injured and thousands more were displaced.
“Most of the dead are children,” Kamil told reporters on Monday, adding that the death toll could rise. “There have been many incidents in several Islamic schools.”
The strong tremors forced children to flee their classrooms, with more than 50 schools affected, according to the aid group Save the Children.
Mia Saharosa, a teacher at one of the affected schools, said the earthquake was “a shock to all of us,” the group said.
“We all gathered in the field, the children were terrified and crying, worried about their families at home,” Saharosa said. “We hug each other, get stronger and keep praying.”
Herman Suherman, a government official in Cianjur, told media that some residents were trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings. Metro TV news channel showed hundreds of victims being treated in the hospital parking lot.
Television footage showed residents gathering outside buildings that were almost completely destroyed, Reuters reported.
One resident, identified only as Muchlis, said he felt a “huge jolt” and that the walls and ceiling of his office were damaged.
“I was very shocked. I was worried that there will be another earthquake,” he told Metro TV.
Indonesia’s meteorological bureau BMKG has warned about the danger of landslides, especially during heavy rains, as 25 aftershocks were recorded in the first two hours after the earthquake.
Rescuers could not immediately reach some of those trapped, he said, adding that the situation remained chaotic.
In addition to constructing tents and shelters for the victims, the government authorities are meeting their basic needs.
Indonesia sits on the “Ring of Fire,” a band around the Pacific Ocean that causes frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity. One of the most seismically active zones on the planet stretches 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 on the island of Sumatra in northern Indonesia triggered a tsunami that hit 14 countries, killing 226,000 people along the Indian Ocean coast, more than half of them in Indonesia.
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