Rescuers dug through debris Tuesday to find survivors of a powerful earthquake that toppled homes and buildings in a heavily populated area of Indonesia’s West Java province, killing at least 268 people.
Another 151 people are still missing and more than 1,000 have been injured, the country’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) said.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), a magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck the Cianjur region in West Java on Monday at around 1:21 p.m. local time, at a depth of 10 kilometers. were carried out.
The scale of the earthquake’s casualties and destruction became increasingly clear on Tuesday, after officials reported discrepancies in earlier reported death tolls.
More than 22,000 houses were destroyed and more than 58,000 people were displaced, BNPB Major General Suharyanto said on Tuesday.
The photos show buildings turned into ruins, bricks and scraps of broken metal littering the streets.
“Most of the dead were children,” West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil told reporters on Monday, adding that the death toll was likely to rise. “So many incidents happened in several Islamic schools.
According to the aid group Save the Children, children were forced to flee their classrooms due to the strong earthquake.
Mia Saharosa, a teacher at one of the affected schools, said the earthquake “shocked us all”.
“We all gathered outside, the kids were scared and crying, worried about their families back home,” Saharosa said. “We hug each other, we strengthen each other and we continue to pray.”
Cianjur government official Herman Suherman told media that some residents were trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings. News channel Metro TV showed hundreds of victims being treated in the hospital’s parking lot.
Television footage showed residents huddled near buildings that were almost completely reduced to rubble, according to Reuters.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Tuesday that the government would provide up to about $3,200 in compensation to the owners of severely damaged homes during a visit to the quake-hit areas.
Jokowi added that houses should be rebuilt as earthquake-resistant.
One resident, identified only as Muchlis, said he felt a “huge shake” and the walls and ceiling of his office were damaged.
“I was very shocked. I’m afraid there will be another earthquake,” he told Metro TV.
Indonesia’s meteorological bureau BMKG warned of the risk of landslides, especially in the case of heavy rain, as 25 aftershocks were recorded in the first two hours after the quake.
Rescuers were unable to immediately reach some of those trapped, he said, adding that the situation remained chaotic.
Government institutions are building tents and shelters for the victims, meeting their basic needs.
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed his “deepest condolences” for the dead while speaking at an ASEAN multilateral meeting in Cambodia on Tuesday.
Indonesia is located on the “Ring of Fire”, a band around the Pacific Ocean that is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity. One of the most seismically active zones on the planet, it stretches from Japan and Indonesia on one side of the Pacific Ocean to California and South America on the other.
In 2004, a magnitude 9.1 earthquake off the island of Sumatra in northern Indonesia triggered a tsunami that hit 14 countries, killing 226,000 people along the Indian Ocean coast, more than half of them in Indonesia.