Indonesia Earthquake: 268 Die as Shallow Tremor Hits Java Island; More Than 150 People Missing

  • Updated

UPDATE on 22 November: Indonesia has updated the casualty numbers after a deadly earthquake struck the Java island on Sunday. The authorities said as many as 268 people died in the aftermath of the tremor. Rescue workers are continuing to look through the rubble and debris.

They also said at least 151 people are still missing, and more than 1,000 people have been injured. "The focus is still on the search and evacuation of victims. That's the priority ... When the emergency response ends, hopefully everyone has been found," Suharyanto, the head of Indonesia's national disaster mitigation agency, told the Agence France-Presse.

UPDATE: Indonesian authorities have said reports of more deaths have been coming in. According to the country's disaster mitigation agency, at least 62 people have been reported killed so far. The agency also alerted that the death is likely to go up as at least 25 people remain trapped under buildings that collapsed.

"So many buildings crumbled and shattered ...There are residents trapped in isolated places ... so we are under the assumption that the number of injured and deaths will rise with time," said West Java governor Ridwan Kamil, according to Channel News Asia.

Original Story: At least 56 people have died in a major earthquake that struck Indonesia's Java province on Monday.The 5.6 magnitude quake hit Cianjur town in West Java, according to US Geological Survey. The USGS data showed the temor occurred at a shallow depth of 10km.

The casualties are likely to go up as scores of people have been taken to the hospitals with injuries.

Indonesia earthquake
Indonesia earthquake reuters

"According to the latest data, the death toll stands at 56, including 40 children who became the majority of casualties from collapsing buildings," Cianjur District Head Herman Suherman told reporters, according to the Jakarta Globe.

Indoensia's Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said the severity of the quake increased as it was at a shallow depth. "It's categorized as a shallow earthquake at the depth of less than 10 kilometers so it doesn't take a magnitude of 7 or above to cause destruction," BMKG said.

Reports said rescuers are trying to extricate people trapped in the debris of collapsed buildings. The devastation was severe as the area affected was densely populated.

The provincial authorities said some 2,200 houses have been damaged in the quake and more than 5,oo0 people have been displaced.

Pacific Ring of Fire

Straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia is regularly hit by earthquakes.

In 2018, a devastating 6.2-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami struck the city of Palu, in Sulawesi, killing thousands.

A 9.1 magnitude quake off the north of Indonesia's Sumatra island on Boxing Day 2004 triggered a tsunami that swept over coastal areas of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and nine other countries, killing more than 230,000 people.

In January last year, at least 35 people were killed after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia's Sulawesi island.

The region witnessed the most devastating earthquake in 2004, when a 9.1 magnitude tremor off Sumatra island set off a tsunami that killed 226,000 people in 14 countries.

This article was first published on November 21, 2022