Updated Nov 22, 2022 - World

Hundreds killed in earthquake on Indonesia's Java island

A man stands beside damaged houses following an earthquake in Cianjur on November 21

A man stands beside damaged houses following an earthquake in Cianjur on November 21. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

At least 268 people were killed and 151 are missing after a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Java on Monday, AP reported, citing the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

Driving the news: The agency said 1,083 people were wounded and another 151 are still missing as search efforts intensified on Tuesday.

  • Regional governor Ridwan Kamil said more than 13,000 people have been displaced by the earthquake.
  • “The majority of those who died were children,” Kamil added, noting that many were public school students who were taking extra lessons at Islamic schools, per AP.
  • “There are still many residents trapped at the incident sites, we assume that the injured and dead victims will continue to increase over time,” Kamil said earlier Monday, CNN reported.
  • According to a statement from the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), in the Cianjur regency of West Java, 2,272 houses were damaged by the earthquake, as well as four government buildings, an Islamic boarding school and a hospital. Infrastructure damage was also recorded in other regencies.
  • “The majority who died were hit by buildings. Some were hit on the head,” Herman Suherman, a government official in the Cianjur regency, said Monday, the Washington Post reported. “All you can hear here is ambulance sirens everywhere.”

State of play: While there has been no tsunami warning, 45 aftershocks were recorded after the earthquake, Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of Indonesia’s Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency, said during a news conference Monday, per the Post.

  • A number of landslides have been reported around Cianjur, and the earthquake was felt as far away as the Jakarta region, where it caused some buildings to sway and prompted evacuations, AP reported.
  • In the village of Cijedil, in Cugenang District, "25 people were recorded as still being buried under collapsed buildings," the National Disaster Management Agency said in its statement.

What they're saying: Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited the epicenter of the earthquake early Monday. He tweeted that the government is making sure access roads re-open so food, medicine and aid supplies are delivered.

  • Widodo also noted the importance of building homes that are earthquake-resistant as the region recovers.
  • "Houses that are damaged will be rebuilt by the government," Suharyanto, head of the National Disaster Management Agency, said in a statement later Monday.

The big picture: Indonesia frequently experiences earthquakes and other extreme weather events due to its location along the so-called "ring of fire" in the Pacific — an arrangement of fault lines and volcanoes in the Pacific Basin.

  • In February, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake left at least 25 people dead and more than 460 injured in West Sumatra province.
  • At least 384 people were killed in 2018 after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in northern Indonesia was followed by a tsunami.
  • In 2004, a 9.1 magnitude earthquake in the Indian Ocean off of northern Indonesia killed more than 230,000 people in 14 countries, more than half of whom were killed in Indonesia.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional developments.

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