Rescue workers sift through rubble on Tuesday to find survivors of a powerful earthquake that destroyed homes and buildings in a densely populated area in Indonesia’s West Java province, killing more than 100 people.
The 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck Cianjur district in West Java at around 1:21 p.m. local time Monday at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), according to the USGS, causing buildings to collapse. while studying at school. It was underway.
The country’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) said the death toll on Tuesday rose to 103, most of whom were crushed under collapsed buildings. Earlier, West Java’s governor, Ridwan Kamil, said more than 160 were killed – and the reason for the discrepancy remains unclear.
Pictures showed buildings reduced to rubble, with broken bricks and scrap metal littering the streets. According to the Palestinian National Bureau of Statistics, more than 700 people have been injured, and thousands more have been displaced.
“Most of the dead were children,” Kamel told reporters on Monday, adding that the death toll was likely to rise further. “Many incidents have occurred in many Islamic schools.”
Strong tremors forced children to flee their classrooms, according to Save the Children, which said more than 50 schools were affected.
Mia Saharosa, a teacher at one of the affected schools, said the earthquake “was a shock to all of us,” according to the group.
“We all gathered in the square, and the children were terrified, crying and worried about their families at home,” Sahrosa said. “We hug each other, we strengthen each other, we continue to pray.”
Hermann Sehrmann, a government official in Cianjur, told the media that some residents were trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings. Metro TV news channel showed what appeared to be hundreds of victims being treated in the hospital’s parking garage.
Television footage showed residents huddled outside buildings that were almost completely reduced to rubble, according to Reuters.
One resident, who gave his name only as Mochlis, said he felt a “strong shake” and the walls and ceiling of his office were damaged.
“I was very shocked. I’m afraid there will be another earthquake,” he told Metro TV.
The Indonesian Meteorological Bureau, BMKG, warned of the danger of landslides, especially in the event of heavy rains, as 25 aftershocks were recorded in the first two hours after the earthquake.
He said rescuers were not immediately able to reach some of those trapped, adding that the situation was still chaotic.
Government authorities are building tents and shelters for the victims while meeting their basic needs.
Indonesia sits on the “Ring of Fire,” a band around the Pacific Ocean that experiences frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity. One of the most seismically active regions on the planet, it stretches from Japan and Indonesia on one side of the Pacific Ocean to California and South America on the other.
In 2004, a 9.1-magnitude earthquake off the island of Sumatra in northern Indonesia triggered a tsunami that struck 14 countries, killing 226,000 people along the Indian Ocean coast, more than half of them in Indonesia.