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A woman walks past a house damaged by an earthquake in Cianjur, West Java, Indonesia, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. A strong, shallow earthquake toppled buildings and collapsed walls on Indonesia's densely populated main island of Java on Monday, killing at least 56 and injuring hundreds as people rushed into the streets, some covered in blood and white debris. (AP Photo) Image Credit: AP

Jakarta Indonesia: A governor said at least 162 people have died and hundreds are injured in earthquake on Indonesia's Java island. The earthquake shook Indonesia’s Java island of Java on Monday, damaging buildings and sending residents into the capital's streets for safety.

Toll seen rising further
The toll is expected to rise further, but no estimates were immediately available because of the area's far-flung, rural population.

Roughly 175,000 people live in the town of Cianjur, part of a mountainous district of the same name with more than 2.5 million people. Known for their piety, the people of Cianjur live mostly in towns of one- and two-story buildings and in smaller homes in the surrounding countryside.

More than 13,000 people whose homes were heavily damaged were taken to evacuation centres, said local officials.

Emergency workers treated the injured on stretchers and blankets outside hospitals, on terraces and in parking lots in the Cianjur region, about three hours drive from the capital, Java. The injured, including children, were given oxygen masks and IV lines. Some were resuscitated.
Locals walk past collapsed houses, after earthquake hit in Cianjur, West Java
Locals walk past collapsed houses, after earthquake hit in Cianjur, West Java province, Indonesia, on November 21, 2022. Image Credit: Antara Foto/via REUTERS

Cianjur, Indonesia: Rescuers searched on Tuesday for survivors buried under rubble after a strong earthquake on Indonesia's main island of Java killed 162 people, injured hundreds and left more feared trapped in collapsed buildings.

The epicentre of the shallow 5.6-magnitude quake on Monday was near the town of Cianjur in Indonesia's most populous province West Java, where most of the victims were killed when buildings fell and landslides were triggered.

Some of the dead were students at an Islamic boarding school while others were killed in their own homes when roofs and walls fell in on them.

"The room collapsed and my legs were buried under the rubble. It all happened so fast," 14-year-old student Aprizal Mulyadi told AFP.

He said was pulled to safety by his friend, Zulfikar, who later died after getting trapped under rubble.

"I was devastated to see him like that, but I could not help him because my legs and back were injured," he said.

The search operation was made more challenging because of severed road links and power supply in parts of the largely rural, mountainous region.

On Tuesday, dozens of rescuers used heavy machinery in Cugenang village to try and clear the road to Cianjur, which was cut off by a landslide.

As the bodybags emerged from crumpled buildings, the focus turned to the missing and any survivors under the debris.

Indonesia's national disaster mitigation agency, or BNPB, said at least 25 people were still buried under the rubble in Cianjur as darkness fell on Monday.

Those who survived camped outside in near-total darkness surrounded by fallen debris, shattered glass and big chunks of concrete.

'Nothing I could save'

The disaster mitigation agency said more than 2,000 houses were damaged and West Java governor Ridwan Kamil said more than 13,000 people were taken to evacuation centres.

Doctors treated patients outdoors at makeshift treatment wards after the quake, which was felt as far away as the capital Jakarta.

Grieving relatives waited for authorities to release bodies from morgues to bury their loved ones in accordance with their Islamic faith while others searched for their missing relatives in the chaos.

At a shelter in Ciherang village near Cianjur, evacuees sat on the cold morning ground on tarpaulins.

Babies and children slept while their exhausted mothers kept watch.

Nunung, a 37-year-old woman who like many Indonesians goes by one name, had pulled herself and her 12-year-old son out of the rubble of their collapsed home.

"I screamed for help for nobody came to help us, I had to free ourselves by digging," she told AFP from the shelter, her face covered in dry blood.

"Nothing is left, there is nothing I could save but the clothes on our back."

The devastation caused by the quake was made worse by a wave of 62 smaller aftershocks - with magnitudes ranging from 1.8 to 4 - that kept shaking Cianjur, a town of about 175,000 people.

Leaders from France and Canada offered their condolences on Monday evening but Indonesia President Joko Widodo is yet to respond.

Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide.

Magnitude 5.6 quake

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 5.6 quake was centered in the Cianjur region in West Java province at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).

“Many were hurt because they were hit by collapsed buildings,” National Disaster Mitigation Agency chief Suharyanto said.

Several landslides were reported around Cianjur. Dozens of buildings were damaged, including an Islamic boarding school, a hospital and other public facilities, the agency said.

Information was still being collected about the extent of casualties and damage, it said in a statement.

The quake was felt strongly in the greater Jakarta area. High rises in the capital swayed and some were evacuated.

“The quake felt so strong. My colleagues and I decided to get out of our office on the ninth floor using the emergency stairs,” said Vidi Primadhania, an employee in South Jakarta.

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A local collects her goods from the house damaged after earthquake hit in Cianjur, West Java province, Indonesia, November 21, 2022, in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Yulius Satria Wijaya/ via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. INDONESIA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN INDONESIA. Image Credit: via REUTERS

Frequent quakes

Earthquakes occur frequently across the sprawling archipelago nation, but it is uncommon for them to be felt in Jakarta.

The country of more than 270 million people is frequently struck 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 February, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed at least 25 people and injured more than 460 in West Sumatra province. In January 2021, 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.

Earthquake Indonesia
People gather as they are evacuated outside a building following an earthquake in Jakarta, Indonesia, November 21, 2022. Image Credit: Reuters