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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Java quake toll rises, rescue underway

Date:

 An earthquake on the main Indonesian island of Java has killed scores of people and injured hundreds, say officials, who fear the numbers could rise further.

The exact number of people killed so far remains unclear, reported BBC.

Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has said their official death toll was 62, adding that another figure given by regional governor Ridwan Kamil – 162 – remains unverified.

The 5.6 magnitude quake struck Cianjur town in West Java, at a shallow depth of 10km on Monday, according to US Geological Survey data.

Scores of people were taken to hospital, with many treated outside. Rescuers have worked through the night to try to save others thought to still be trapped under collapsed buildings.

The area where the quake struck is densely populated and prone to landslides, with poorly built houses reduced to rubble in many areas.

Speaking to local media, Kamil said some 326 people had been injured in the quake, noting that “most of them sustained fractures from being crushed in ruins”.

But he warned some residents remained “trapped in isolated places” and said officials were “under the assumption that the number of injured and deaths will rise with time”.

The West Java governor added that more than 13,000 people had been displaced by the disaster, and the BNPB said more than 2,200 homes had been damaged by the quake.

Herman Suherman, the head of administration in Cianjur town, said most injuries were bone fractures sustained from people being trapped by debris in buildings.

On Monday night, Kamil wrote on Twitter that it could take up to three days for power to be fully restored to the area. He added that mobile phone reception remained poor and was causing “a lot of problems” for officials.

The tremor which started around 1.21 pm local time could also be felt in the capital Jakarta about 100km away.

Earthquakes are common in Indonesia, which sits on the “ring of fire” area of tectonic activity in the Pacific. The country has a history of devastating earthquakes and tsunamis, with more than 2,000 killed in a 2018 Sulawesi quake, the BBC said.

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