March 3, 2024

Moon Desk: A strong, shallow earthquake toppled buildings and collapsed walls on Indonesia’s densely populated main island of Java on Monday, killing at least 56 and injuring hundreds as people rushed into the streets, some covered in blood and white debris.

Emergency workers were treating the injured on stretchers outside main hospitals, on terraces and in parking lots. Many included children, some of whom were given oxygen masks, IV lines and were being resuscitated.

Residents, some crying with children in their arms, fled damaged homes after the magnitude 5.6 quake shook the Cianjur region in West Java province in late afternoon, at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). It also caused panic in the greater Jakarta area, where high-rises swayed and some were evacuated.

Rescue teams and civilians in Cianjur were looking for others who may have been buried in the debris of collapsed brick houses. The quake was powerful enough to bring down walls, chunks of concrete and roof tiles, some of which landed inside bedrooms.

“The quake felt so strong. My colleagues and I decided to get out of our office on the ninth floor using the emergency stairs,” said Vidi Primadhania, an employee in South Jakarta.

Herman Suherman, the head of Cianjur regency, said the death toll reached 56 as of Monday evening. Around 700 were injured, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency chief Suharyanto said.

Several landslides were reported around Cianjur. Among the dozens of buildings that were damaged was an Islamic boarding school, a hospital and other public facilities, the agency said.

Information was still being collected about the extent of casualties and damage.

Some victims and survivors were being taken to the government hospital in Cianjur, where emergency tents were erected and workers treated the injured.

Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency recorded at least 25 aftershocks.

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