By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent
JAKARTA (Worthy News) – A powerful earthquake shook Indonesia’s main island of Java on Monday, killing at least 162 people and injuring hundreds more, authorities said.
The 5.6 quake struck on land in Cianjur town, about 75 kilometers (46 miles) southeast of the capital, Jakarta, at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the weather and geophysics agency (BMKG) said.
The quake damaged dozens of buildings and was also felt in Jakarta, where people in high-rise buildings were evacuated.
BMKG said there was no danger of a tsunami related to Monday’s quake. However, authorities warned of possible aftershocks and said the death toll could rise.
Herman Suherman, the head of administration in Cianjur town, told local media at least 46 people had already been killed. “Victims kept coming from many areas. Around 700 people were injured,” he added in an interview with Kompas TV.
He also told reporters that most injuries were bone fractures from people trapped by debris in buildings. “The ambulances keep coming from the villages to the hospital,” he said.
“There are many families in villages that have not been evacuated.”
RING OF FIRE
It was the latest in a series of earthquakes that have jolted Indonesia, straddling the Pacific Ring of Fire, a highly seismically active zone.
Different plates on the earth’s crust meet in the Pacific Ring of Fire, causing earthquakes and volcanoes in the Asian nation.
In 2004, a 9.1 magnitude quake off Sumatra island in northern Indonesia triggered a tsunami that struck 14 countries, killing 226,000 people along the Indian Ocean coastline, more than half of them in Indonesia.
Monday’s suffering also underscored Indonesia’s infrastructure vulnerabilities. Several homes and an Islamic boarding school were damaged, while electricity in the area was down, disrupting communications, the disaster agency said.
Footage from Metro TV showed some buildings in Cianjur reduced almost entirely to rubble as residents huddled outside.
Witness Muchlis, who was in Cianjur when the quake hit, said he felt “a huge tremor,” and the walls and ceiling of his office were damaged. “I was very shocked. I worried there would be another quake,” Muchlis told Metro TV, adding that people ran out of their houses in panic.
There was death and hope beneath the rubble, noted Cianjur police chief Doni Hermawan. “We managed to evacuate a woman and a baby alive. But the other one passed away” in a landslide caused by the quake, he recalled.
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