Monday afternoon was tragic for Indonesia’s Java Island, as a 5.6 magnitude earthquake rocked it from the West. The epicenter was 47 miles southeast of Jakarta, causing skyscrapers to shake and buildings to collapse. The death count is now at 162, and the expectation for numbers will rise as rescue operations begin digging through buildings. At least 25 people await rescue under the rubble, while around 700 people moved to hospitals due to injuries.
Around 25 aftershocks of varying intensity occurred following the initial earthquake. 5,300 people have now moved away from their homes as experts begin assessing safety and damage to the affected areas. The challenge is getting to the isolated places with potentially trapped citizens.
The nearby Cianjur region has over 2,000 homes damaged due to the quake. Along with it are several vital structures, such as a hospital, government buildings, and a boarding school. Several landslides also happened in different areas that they need to address.
Not the First Time This Year
Indonesia is known for frequent earthquakes in its different regions. January 2021 saw a 6.2 magnitude earthquake that killed over 100 people in West Sulawesi. The injury toll reached over 6,500 when all was said and done. Last February, the Western Sumatra province also experienced the same strength, with 25 people dead and over 460 injured.
The recent quake in Java Island is the most dangerous occurring this year, and hopefully, it will be the last for a while. The reason for the frequent earthquakes is that Indonesia is a part of the Ring of Fire.
The Ring of Fire is a geographical location in Southeast Asia consists of a string of volcanoes above land and underwater. It’s because the area is one of the places where tectonic plates move. As such, earthquakes are common, possibly leading to volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.
Search Efforts Continue
Around 151 people are still missing, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency. Over 300 people received grievous injuries and are now undergoing treatment. Most injuries were due to the rubble and collapsing buildings. The earthquake also caused panic on the streets as citizens began fleeing to avoid collapsing areas.
Survivors state that the quake was so strong it felt like the buildings were dancing. Many were fortunate to have left their homes before they collapsed into ruins. Rescue operations in Cijedil are also underway because of a landslide that has buried several houses. The biggest challenge would be the remote areas, as they have no immediate access to rescue and medical assistance.
Hospitals are overwhelmed by the influx of patients. It’s also because some facilities were in the earthquake zone. Patients are receiving treatment in parking lots, while tents are now placed outside some facilities.
Unfortunately, many casualties were students, as the quake occurred as classes finished. Some were undertaking extra lessons when buildings collapsed.
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