JAKARTA - A 5.6-magnitude shallow quake rattled Indonesia’s West Java on Monday, sending tremors as far as Jakarta and killing dozens of people, injuring hundreds of others and damaging scores of buildings.
Strong tremors lasting 10 to 15 seconds saw panicky people fleeing their homes in West Java’s Cianjur regency, just 10km away from the epicentre of the land quake that struck at 1.21pm local time (2.21pm Singapore time).
Indonesia’s Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) said at least 103 people have died, most of them crushed by rubble.
West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said more than 13,000 people have been displaced. Over two dozen more were still trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings., according to the BNPB.
Earlier, Cianjur Regent Herman Suherman said 40 children were among the dead, while at least 700 were injured, many of them suffering broken bones from falling rubble.
More than 2,270 houses were damaged, as well as a boarding school, a hospital and three educational facilities.
Landslides after the quake left a number of cars buried and blocked off cross-provincial roads in Cianjur regency. Electricity was cut off in several areas.
“Many roads are cut off such that cars and motorbikes cannot pass. Village heads in Cianjur reported that they needed heavy equipment to clear debris from damaged buildings and landslides,” said Mr Herman.
Television footage showed people and children panicking as they poured onto the streets, some crying and bleeding from head injuries. Victims were seen being treated at the Dr Hafiz Hospital’s carpark in Cianjur.
Cianjur resident Jajang, 51, who like many Indonesians goes by a single name, told Kompas.com that he was at a car repair shop when the quake struck. He managed to escape just as the walls started to crumble.
“Without warning, I felt the building shake a little and start to collapse,” he said. “I rode a motorbike to the health centre, with my face totally covered in blood.”
Resident Ai Rohmah, 47, told the same news portal that she was trapped in her house by a refrigerator and falling bricks, and had to be rescued by her neighbours.
Major General Suharyanto, head of BNPB, told the media earlier: “We are continuing to update figures and the number of victims are expected to rise.”
Some areas in Cianjur remained isolated due to landslides.
Aftershocks were also felt in the surrounding West Java regencies including Sukabumi, Bogor and Bandung, and in the capital Jakarta about 100km north. Lower-intensity tremors were still being felt on the ground on Monday night, the authorities said.
Indonesia sits on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire and is regularly hit by earthquakes.