Magnitude 6.1 quake rattles Indonesia’s West Java: Agency

People stay outdoors in a business area in Jakarta because they fear aftershocks following an earthquake on Dec 8, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
The quake's epicentre was 22km from the city of Sukabumi in West Java but tremors were also felt in the capital Jakarta. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

JAKARTA - A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia’s West Java province on Thursday, the country’s geophysics agency BMKG said.

The tremor prompted residents in areas near the epicentre to flee their homes in panic. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake was of magnitude 5.8. There were no immediate reports of damage.

Thursday’s quake came less than a month after another quake in the same province killed more than 300 people.

The quake struck at 7.50am local time (8.50am Singapore time) around 15km from the town of Cianjur, epicentre of November’s devastating tremor.

The USGS said there is a low likelihood of casualties or damage following the quake, which struck at a depth of 123km.

No damage was immediately reported in Cianjur or Sukabumi, the city nearest the epicentre, local disaster mitigation agency officials said on Thursday. But schools were temporarily evacuated in Sukabumi, according to local TV.

“The epicentre of the earthquake is in Sukabumi, so it was only lightly felt in Cianjur. No reports of damage to houses or casualties,” said Mr Wawan Setawan, a disaster agency official in Cianjur.

“We have yet to receive reports of damage caused by the earthquake,” Mr Imran Wardhani, an official in Sukabumi, said soon after the tremor.

In November, a shallow 5.6-magnitude quake hit Cianjur, triggering landslides and collapsing buildings, killing at least 334 people, injuring thousands and leaving tens of thousands more homeless.

Save the Children warned this week that evacuees face a “ticking time bomb” of disease and infection due to poor living conditions. Thousands of cases of respiratory infections and hundreds of cases of diarrhoea have been reported.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited the area on Thursday to distribute aid to affected residents.

A quake also struck eastern Indonesia on Thursday. The 5.5-magnitude tremor struck Abepura in eastern Papua province, the USGS said, adding that the quake was 37.4km below the earth’s surface.

Straddling the so-called Ring of Fire, a highly seismically active zone where different plates on the earth’s crust meet, Indonesia has a history of devastating quakes.

In 2004, a 9.1-magnitude quake off Sumatra island in northern Indonesia triggered a tsunami that struck 14 countries, killing 226,000 people. AFP, REUTERS

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