AFragments of debris lie on the streets, landslides are making rescue work more difficult, and dozens of injured people are waiting on the street in front of the hospitals: An earthquake left destruction in its wake on Monday afternoon on the Indonesian main island of Java. At least 62 people were killed, according to a spokesman for the National Civil Protection. Around 700 were injured.
“The numbers are increasing,” the community chief of the hardest-hit city of Cianjur, Herman Suherman, told a local TV station. Some areas are not yet accessible due to landslides. In addition, many of the injured could not be treated because there were not enough staff available, he said. Live images from the Metro TV station showed dozens of people waiting in a parking lot in front of a hospital in Cianjur and receiving only scant care.
The tremor, the strength of which the American Seismological Survey (USGS) indicated at 5.6, had occurred at local noon about 70 kilometers south-east of the capital Jakarta at a depth of ten kilometers. The epicenter was therefore on land, near the town of Cianjur. This is also where the greatest damage occurred.
More than 1,700 buildings were damaged or destroyed, according to the spokesman for the National Civil Protection. At least 23 people are still buried under the rubble.
They are images of destruction, but the consequences of the earthquake could have been even more serious. Because, as the head of the National Disaster Management said, most of the victims were killed by debris from their collapsing houses. At the time of the earthquake, however, many people were not at home.
The earthquake was also clearly felt in the metropolis of Jakarta. High-rise buildings swayed, but no major damage was initially reported in the city. There was no tsunami warning.
Indonesia has around 270 million inhabitants, more than half of whom live on the main island of Java. The island nation lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, the most geologically active zone on earth. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common there. In February, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake on the island of Sumatra killed nearly 20 people. More than 400 were injured.