An earthquake rocked Indonesia’s main island of Java this morning, killing at least 44 people, injuring 700 more, damaging dozens of buildings and sending residents into the capital’s streets for safety. The US 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).
Cianjur Regent Herman Suherman said: “44 people died, more than 700 people were injured,”
Earlier, National Disaster Mitigation Agency chief Suharyanto put the death toll at 14 people.
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 earthquake was felt strongly in the greater Jakarta area. High rises in the capital swayed and some were evacuated.
Vidi Primadhania, an employee in South Jakarta, said: “The earthquake felt so strong. My colleagues and I decided to get out of our office on the ninth floor using the emergency stairs.”
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 earthquake and tsunami in 2004 killed nearly 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia.
(More to follow)