Rescuers dig through rubble Tuesday to find survivors after a powerful earthquake destroyed homes and buildings in a heavily populated area of Indonesia’s West Java province, killing more than 100 people.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), an earthquake struck at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) in West Java’s Cianjur region around 1:21 pm on Monday, causing buildings to collapse inside a school. It was underway.
The death toll rose to 103 on Tuesday, the country’s National Disaster Prevention Agency (BNPB) said, with most of them trapped under collapsed buildings. Earlier, the governor of West Java, Ridwan Kamil, said more than 160 people had died – the reason for the discrepancy was unclear.
Photos show buildings reduced to rubble, bricks and broken metal strewn across the street. More than 700 people were injured and thousands were displaced, BNPB said.
In a statement to reporters on Monday, Kamil said the death toll could rise further: “Most of the dead are children.” “Many incidents have occurred in many Islamic schools.”
The aid agency said more than 50 schools had been damaged as the strong tremors forced children to flee their classrooms.
Mia Saharosa, a teacher at one of the affected schools, said the quake “shocked us all.”
“We all gathered in the field, the children were scared and cried, they were worried about their families at home,” Saharosa said. “We hug each other, encourage each other and keep praying.”
Herman Suherman, a government official in Sianjur, told the media that some residents were trapped in the collapsed buildings. News channel Metro TV showed hundreds of victims being treated in a hospital parking lot.
Reuters reported that television footage showed residents huddled outside buildings reduced to rubble.
One resident, Muchlis, said he felt a “huge shake” and the walls and ceiling of his office were damaged.
“I was shocked. I’m worried about another earthquake,” he told Metro TV.
Indonesia’s Meteorological Bureau, BMKG, warned of the risk of landslides, especially during heavy rains, with 25 aftershocks recorded in the two hours after the quake.
Rescuers could not immediately locate some of those arrested, he said, adding that the situation was chaotic.
Government officials are constructing tents and shelters for the victims while meeting their basic needs.
Indonesia sits on the “Ring of Fire” around the Pacific Ocean, which is plagued by frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity. One of the largest earthquake zones on the planet stretches from Japan and Indonesia on one side of the Pacific Ocean to California and South America.
In the year In 2004, a 9.1 magnitude earthquake on the island of Sumatra in northern Indonesia caused a tsunami in 14 countries, killing 226,000 people along the Indian Ocean coast, more than half of them in Indonesia.