Earthquake Hits Indonesia, Killing at Least 162, Injuring Hundreds

  • VOA News

    November 22, 2022 08:08

    Rescue workers are searching for survivors after a strong, shallow earthquake struck Indonesia's main island of Java on Monday, killing at least 162 people and injuring hundreds.
    The head of the country's National Disaster Mitigation Agency said the earthquake damaged and toppled dozens of buildings. West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said that more than 13,000 people whose homes had been heavily damaged were transported to evacuation centers.
    Kamil said that because so many buildings had collapsed, the death toll may rise. He said at least 326 people were injured. "Because there are still a lot of people trapped on the scene, we assume injuries and fatalities will increase over time," Kamil told a news conference. The disaster mitigation agency said a search for survivors trapped under the rubble would continue through the night.
    Hundreds of injured people fled into the streets of Cianjur following the quake, some covered in blood and debris. The U.S. Geological Survey said Cianjur was the epicenter of the magnitude 5.6 quake. Shaking was felt in the capital, Jakarta, about 70 kilometers away, where some high-rise buildings were evacuated.
    Rescuers search for survivors amid ruins of houses damaged by an earthquake in Cianjur, Indonesia on Nov. 21, 2022. /AP
    "The majority of those who died were children," Kamil said. He said many were public school students who had finished their regular classes for the day and were taking extra lessons at Islamic schools. Cianjur is known for having many Islamic boarding schools and mosques. Emergency workers treated the injured on stretchers and blankets outside hospitals, on terraces and in parking lots in the Cianjur region.
    "I fainted. It was very strong," Hasan, a construction worker who, like many Indonesians, uses one name, told The Associated Press. "I saw my friends running to escape from the building. But it was too late to get out and I was hit by the wall." The sirens of ambulances continued to sound late into the night in Cianjur.
    Several landslides closed roads near Cianjur. Among the dozens of buildings that were damaged were an Islamic boarding school, a hospital and other public facilities, authorities said. Power outages were reported. The disaster mitigation agency warned of the possibility that more landslides could occur in the event of heavy rain. Kamil said 88 aftershocks were recorded Monday.
    Indonesia, with a population of more than 270 million people, is frequently hit by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.
    In the past two years, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed at least 25 people and injured more than 460 in West Sumatra province, while a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed more than 100 people and injured nearly 6,500 in West Sulawesi province. A powerful Indian Ocean quake and tsunami in 2004 killed nearly 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia.
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