With a population of over 270 million people, the country is repeatedly hit by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis because it is located in the “Ring of Fire”. A shallow earthquake hit Indonesia’s main island of Java, killing dozens and injuring hundreds amid fears the death toll will rise. Monday’s magnitude-5.6 earthquake was centered at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles) in the Cianjur region of West Java, according to the US Geological Survey. For security reasons, residents of the capital Jakarta were sent to the streets.
West Java governor Ridwan Kamil confirmed his 56 deaths from the earthquake. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said about 700 people were injured. “So many buildings collapsed and shattered,” Ridwan told reporters. “There are residents trapped in quarantine…so the number of injured and dead is expected to rise over time.” Hundreds of buildings were damaged, including Islamic boarding schools, hospitals, and other public facilities. Cianjur government official Herman Suhelman said the city’s Sayan hospital lost power after the earthquake, leaving doctors unable to operate on victims. The city of Cianjur is located 75 kilometers (35 miles) southeast of Jakarta. Footage from Metro TV showed concerned residents crowding outside as Cianjur’s buildings were almost completely reduced to rubble.
The earthquake was strongly felt in the Jakarta metropolitan area. Skyscrapers in the capital shook and some were evacuated. “The earthquake felt very strong. My colleague and I decided to use the fire escape to leave his office on the 9th floor,” said Vidi Primadhania, a staff member in South Jakarta. Munchies, who was in Cianjur when the quake hit, said he felt a “big tremor” that damaged the walls and ceilings of an office building “I was so shocked. I was afraid another earthquake was coming,” Muchlis told Metro TV, adding that people had fled their homes and the strong shaking made them faint and vomit. added. Dwikorita Karnawati, head of the BMKG, an authority on meteorology and geophysics, advised people to stay outdoors during aftershocks. According to BMKG, he recorded 25 aftershocks in the two hours after the quake and was at risk of landslides, especially during heavy rains. “Due to the possibility of aftershocks, we are asking people to stay outside the building for the time being,” Karunawati told reporters.
Earthquakes are common in the vast archipelago nation, but they are rarely felt in Jakarta. With a population of over 270 million people, the country is frequently hit by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis because it lies in the Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and faults in the Pacific Basin. In February, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit West Sumatra, killing at least 25 people and injuring more than 460. In January 2021, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck West Sulawesi province, killing more than 100 people and injuring nearly 6,500. A powerful earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004 killed about 230,000 people in 12 countries, most of them in Indonesia.