Jakarta, November 23
The death toll from an earthquake on Indonesia’s main island of Java jumped to 268 on Tuesday.
At least 268 people have died as of about 5:30 p.m. local time, according to the head of Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency who was speaking at a press conference, reported ABC News. Officials said that more than 1,000 people were injured. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said that 151 people are still missing. It also said that 22,000 houses had been damaged in the region.
US Geological Survey data said the 5.6 magnitude quake struck Cianjur town in west Java, at a shallow depth of 10 km. The area where the quake struck is densely-populated and prone to landslides. Rescuers have been working to try to save others, who might still be trapped under collapsed buildings.
As bodybags emerged from crumpled buildings in Indonesia’s most populous province, rescue efforts turned to any survivors still under debris in areas made hard to reach by the mass of obstacles thrown onto the roads by the quake.
So far, a total of 1,083 people have been injured with 151 people still missing or unaccounted for, the official said in Tuesday’s press conference. More than 58,000 people have been displaced and numbers could still potentially rise, reported ABC News.
Indonesia’s President, Joko Widodo, went to the site of the quake and expressed his condolences.
“On behalf of myself, on behalf of the government, I would like to express my deep condolences for the earthquake in Cianjur Regency, West Java Province,” Widodo said in his remarks.
“And most importantly, I am happy that the road access that was buried yesterday until this morning has been able to be opened, thank God, and this will be continued with the speed in handling — especially (the) rescue (and) evacuation for those who are still buried,” he added.
Head of the National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB) Lieutenant General Suharyanto said that officials “can’t say yet how many of the 268 (deaths) are children.”
“The earthquake coincided with many children who were reciting the Quran,” he said. “So indeed some of those who have been identified are children. Whether the percentage of 268 (deaths) is a lot of children, tomorrow (Wednesday) at 5 pm (local time) we will answer.”
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 2022, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed at least 25 people and injured more than 460 in West Sumatra province.