Five killed, four injured by Friday's quake on Indonesia's Java island

A house in Pandeglang in Indonesia's Banten province, damaged after a strong earthquake hit the area on Aug 2, 2019.
A house in Pandeglang in Indonesia's Banten province, damaged after a strong earthquake hit the area on Aug 2, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA - A powerful undersea earthquake that rocked Indonesia's Java island on Friday (Aug 2) night has killed at least five people and injured four others, the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) said on Saturday.

Two people - who died of heart attack and fatigue, respectively - were residents of Lebak regency in Banten province, and another died because of panic in Pandeglang regency in the same province, the agency said in a statement. Another two Indonesians who died were from Sukabumi regency in West Java province, it said. 

Three of the four injured were found in Pandeglang regency in Banten, while another one was in Sukabumi.

At least 223 houses and 10 buildings, including places of worship and schools, across provinces of Banten and West Java were destroyed, according to the agency.

BNPB chief Doni Monardo visited Pandeglang on Saturday to check the situation on the ground. He noted that the number of casualties will continue to pick up.

"The damage that we've monitored hour by hour keeps increasing," he was quoted as saying by Detik news.

Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) on Friday issued a tsunami warning after the 6.9-magnitude quake struck off at a depth of 48km, with waves predicted to reach three metres in the southern parts of Pandeglang and on the west coast of Lampung. That prompted local residents along the coastline flee to higher ground and those in other affected areas take shelter in safer places.

Residents of Jakarta also got out of their homes as buildings in the capital swayed from the force of the incident.

The agency ended its alert two and a half hours after the major quake.


People gather outside an office building following an earthquake in Jakarta on Aug 2, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

Lieutenant-general Doni said that most of the evacuees, including 1,000 people taking shelter in the Lampung gubernatorial office soon after the quake, had returned to their homes.

Soon after the quake, President Joko Widodo instructed authorities to monitor the situation on the ground.

The BNPB sent its emergency response team to the affected regions, such as South Lampung, Pandeglang, Serang, Lebak and Sukabumi, as regional governments conducted assessments along with the military and police, in the post-disaster relief.

On Saturday, Social Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita also visited Pandeglang and handed over food and tents, among others, to local residents. He promised that the government will hand over financial aid totalling 15 million rupiah (S$1,460) to each family of the deceased.

Indonesia, located in the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where tectonic plates collide, records frequent seismic and volcanic activities, including earthquakes, which are sometimes followed by tsunami.

 
 

Last year, the country experienced more than 11,500 earthquakes, according to BMKG.

A major 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit the Maluku islands in eastern Indonesia last month, claiming the lives of at least two people.

Last year, a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in the city of Palu on Sulawesi island killed over than 2,200 people, while another thousand people were declared missing.

Indonesia was rocked by the most devastating disaster in its recent history on Dec 26, 2004, when a tsunami, following a 9.1-magnitude earthquake, struck off the coast of Sumatra, killing 170,000 people, out of 220,000 killed across the Indian Ocean region.