Earthquake shakes Indonesia

Dozens dead, hundreds injured

According to preliminary official information, an earthquake on Indonesia’s main island of Java killed more than 50 people and injured hundreds more on Monday. So far there have been 56 fatalities, spokesman for the city administration of the hardest hit city of Cianjur, Herman Suherman, told the AFP news agency.

The tremor, the magnitude of which was 5.6 according to the US earthquake monitoring station (USGS), occurred around noon about 70 kilometers south-east of the capital Jakarta at a depth of ten kilometers. According to the USGS, the epicenter of the quake was near Cianjur in the province of West Java. Several broadcasters showed images of buildings in Cianjur whose roofs had collapsed. There was no tsunami warning.

As more people are believed to be under the rubble of collapsed buildings, the death toll could continue to rise, Suherman said. Ambulances with injured people from the surrounding villages continued to arrive. Some areas are inaccessible due to landslides, he said. In addition, many of the injured could not be treated because there were not enough staff available, Suherman said.

Medical staff treat the injured

AP/Firman Taqur

Many people remain outdoors for fear of aftershocks

The tremors also shook high-rise buildings in the capital Jakarta, around 100 kilometers to the south. People ran outside in panic, but no major damage or injuries were reported from the capital. Local media reported severe damage to a hospital, an Islamic boarding school and various businesses

Aftershock warning

Indonesia’s meteorological agency warned people in the hardest-hit region of aftershocks. They should remain outdoors for the time being, said agency chief Dwikorita Karnawati.

Because of Indonesia’s location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common in the Southeast Asian country. In January last year, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, killing more than 100 people. Thousands of people lost their homes.

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