Earthquake Hits West Java, Killing at Least 162 and Injuring Hundreds People

Earthquake Hits West Java, Killing at Least 162 and Injuring Hundreds People.lelemuku.com.jpg

BANDUNG, LELEMUKU.COM - A strong, shallow earthquake struck Indonesia’s main island of Java Monday, killing at least 162 people and injuring hundreds.

The head of the country’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency said the earthquake damaged and toppled dozens of buildings. West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said that more 13,000 people whose homes had been heavily damaged were being transported to evacuation centers.

Hundreds of injured people fled into the streets of Cianjur, some covered in blood and debris. The U.S. Geological Survey said Cianjur was the epicenter of the magnitude 5.6 quake.

Shaking was felt in the capital, Jakarta, about 70 kilometers away, where some high-rise buildings were evacuated.

"The majority of those who died were children," Kamil said. He said many were public school students who had finished their regular classes for the day and were taking extra lessons at Islamic schools. Cianjur is known for having many Islamic boarding schools and mosques.

Emergency workers treated the injured on stretchers and blankets outside hospitals, on terraces and in parking lots in the Cianjur region.

"I fainted. It was very strong," Hasan, a construction worker who, like many Indonesians, uses one name, told The Associated Press. "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."

Several landslides closed roads near Cianjur. Among the dozens of buildings that were damaged was an Islamic boarding school, a hospital and other public facilities, authorities said. Power outages were reported.

Indonesia, with a population of more than 270 million people, is frequently hit 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 the last two years, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed at least 25 people and injured more than 460 in West Sumatra province, while a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed more than 100 people and injured nearly 6,500 in West Sulawesi province.

A powerful Indian Ocean quake and tsunami in 2004 killed nearly 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia. (VOA)

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