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A strong 5.6-magnitude earthquake rocked Indonesia’s main island of Java on Monday, killing at least 162 people and injuring hundreds, damaging buildings and causing a landslide, local officials said.
The epicenter was in the Cianjur district of West Java, according to the US Geological Survey, and it was felt as far away as the capital, Jakarta, as panic-stricken residents took to the streets.
“Dozens of people have been killed,” Adam, a spokesman for the local administration in the town of Cianjur, who like many Indonesians uses one name, told AFP.
He said thousands of homes may have been damaged in the quake. The head of the local administration in the town most affected by the earthquake said that most of the deaths were counted in only one hospital, without providing a specific number, while many nearby villages were not evacuated.
“The information I got at the moment is, in this hospital alone, nearly 20 people have died and at least 300 are being treated,” Hermann Suhrmann told Metro TV earlier.
“Most of them had fractures due to the rubble of the buildings.” Local media reported that shops, a hospital and an Islamic boarding school in the town were badly damaged by the quake.
Broadcasters showed several buildings in Cianjur with roofs collapsed and debris littering the streets.
Sahirman said relatives of the victims had gathered at the town’s Sayang Hospital and warned that the death toll could rise because villagers outside the city might still be trapped.
“We are currently dealing with people who are in an emergency situation in this hospital. Ambulances kept coming from the villages to the hospital.”
“There are many families in the villages that have not been evacuated.” The country’s disaster management chief, Suharyanto, who also goes by one name, said at least 14 people had died in Cianjur district, but said the information was “still evolving”.
Cianjur Police Chief Doni Hermawan said authorities rescued a woman and a child from a landslide, but a third person who was found died of his injuries.
The country’s meteorological agency warned residents near the quake to watch out for more tremors.
“We call on people to stay outside buildings for the time being as there may be possible aftershocks,” Dwikorita Karnawati, head of the Indonesian Meteorological Agency, told reporters.
There were no reports of injuries or serious damage in Jakarta. Mayadita Walyo, a 22-year-old lawyer, described how panicked workers ran to the exits of their building in Jakarta as the earthquake struck.
“I was working when the ground beneath me was shaking. I could clearly feel the tremor. I tried not to do anything to process what it was, but it got stronger and lasted for a while,” she said.
“I’m feeling a bit dizzy now and my legs are a bit tight because I had to walk downstairs from the 14th floor.” Hundreds of people were waiting outdoors after the quake, an AFP correspondent said, including some wearing hard hats to protect against falling debris.
Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its location on the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire,” where tectonic plates collide.
A 6.2-magnitude earthquake on the island of Sulawesi in January last year killed more than 100 people and left thousands homeless.
Originally published as At least 162 dead after earthquake in Indonesia