Indonesia earthquake kills at least 162, injures hundreds

CIANJUR, Indonesia (AP) — A powerful earthquake killed at least 162 people and injured hundreds on Indonesia’s main island on Monday. Terrified residents fled into the street, some covered in blood and debris.

CIANJUR, Indonesia (AP) — A powerful earthquake killed at least 162 people and injured hundreds on Indonesia’s main island on Monday. Terrified residents fled into the street, some covered in blood and debris.

Most of the dead were public school students who had completed their classes for the day and were taking additional lessons at Islamic schools when they collapsed, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said in announcing the latest toll. deaths in the remote rural area.

Hospitals have been overwhelmed with wounded and the toll is expected to rise further. No estimate was immediately available due to the remote rural population of the area, but many structures collapsed and residents and relief workers braced for grim news.

“The buildings have been completely razed,” said Dwi Sarmadi, who works for an Islamic educational foundation in a nearby neighborhood.

About 175,000 people live in the city of Cianjur, which is part of a mountainous district of the same name with more than 2.5 million inhabitants. Known for their piety, the people of Cianjur mostly live in towns of one- and two-story buildings and in smaller houses in the surrounding countryside.

Kamil said more than 13,000 people whose homes were badly damaged had been taken to evacuation centers.

Rescuers treated the injured on stretchers and blankets outside hospitals, on terraces and in parking lots in the Cianjur area, about a three-hour drive from the capital, Java. The injured, including children, were given oxygen masks and intravenous catheters. Some have been revived.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Cianjur Regional Hospital building, waiting for treatment

“I was working inside my office building. The building was not damaged, but as the earthquake shook very strongly, many things fell. My leg was hit by heavy objects,” Sarmadi said.

Sarmadi was waiting near a tent outside the hospital after some overwhelmed clinics couldn’t see him. Many people arrived in worse condition.

“I really hope they can handle me soon,” he said.

Hasan, a construction worker who, like many Indonesians, uses only one name, is also among the survivors being taken to hospital.

“I passed out. It was very strong,” Hasan said.

“I saw my friends running to escape from the building. But it was too late to get out and I was hit by the wall.

Residents, some crying and holding their children, fled damaged homes after a 5.6 magnitude earthquake rocked the area of ​​West Java province in the late afternoon to a depth of 10 kilometers ( 6.2 miles). It also caused panic in the greater Jakarta area, where skyscrapers swayed and some people were evacuated.

In many houses in Cianjur, pieces of concrete and tiles fell inside the rooms.

Trader Dewi Risma was working with customers when the earthquake hit and she ran for the exit.

“Vehicles on the road stopped because the quake was very strong,” she said. “I felt it shook three times, but the first one was the strongest for about 10 seconds. The roof of the store next to the store I work in collapsed and people said two people had been affected.

Twenty-five people are still buried in the rubble of Cijedil village, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Abdul Muhari said earlier in the day.

Several landslides have closed roads around the Cianjur district. Among the dozens of damaged buildings was a hospital, the agency said. Power outages have been reported.

The Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency recorded at least 25 aftershocks.

“The earthquake was so strong. My colleagues and I decided to get out of our office on the ninth floor using the fire escape,” said Vidi Primadhania, an employee in the capital, where many residents rushed to the streets and others hid. under desks.

The country of more than 270 million people is frequently hit by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis due to its location on the ‘Ring of Fire’, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the basin of the Pacific.

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 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004 killed nearly 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia.

Firman Taufiq and Edna Tarigan, The Associated Press

Carol N. Valencia