Earthquake in Indonesia: at least 55 dead and hundreds injured after 5.6 quake in West Java

At least 55 people have died and hundreds have been injured after a magnitude 5.6 earthquake shook the province of West Java, the most populous in Indonesia with almost 50 million inhabitants, on Monday, authorities said.

As confirmed to EFE by the government spokesman for Cianjur, the West Java town where the epicenter of the earthquake occurred, four people died at the Cimacan hospital and 51 at the Sayang medical center in that town.

However, the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB, in Indonesian) confirms, for the moment, a total of 17 deaths and 19 seriously injured by the earthquake, whose magnitude was updated by the United States Geological Survey from 5.4 initially reported for 5.6.

Speaking to local media, Cianjur’s chief administrative officer, Herman Suherman, said the tremors have left around 700 wounded.

“Victims continue to arrive from many areas. Around 700 people were injured,” Suherman told Kompas TV.

He added that, due to the devastation caused by the earthquake, many roads and highways in the region are closed and some power distribution stations were affected, causing power outages in several towns.

After the initial quake, the Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) recorded 25 aftershocks in just two hours.

In videos released by local authorities, it is possible to see dozens of people, some unconscious, receiving medical care and being transported in ambulances.

Likewise, the images show several damaged properties and facilities, while some houses were completely destroyed by the tremor, which was felt in the capital, Jakarta, located about 75 kilometers from the epicenter.

The impact of the earthquake caused serious damage to at least 343 houses and an Islamic boarding school, while the Cianjur hospital suffered moderate damage.

At least four government buildings, three schools, a church and several local businesses were also affected, according to the latest official balance.

Indonesia sits on the so-called Pacific ring of fire, an area of ​​great seismic and volcanic activity in which about 7,000 earthquakes most of them moderate.

One of the deadliest disasters in the country occurred in 2004, when a strong earthquake in the north of the Indonesian island of Sumatra generated a tsunami that caused more than 226,000 dead.