Image: Earthquake in Indonesia Rises to 268 death toll in earthquake in Indonesia
Indonesia earthquake – Playback

The death toll after a magnitude 5.6 earthquake on the Indonesian island of Java has risen to 268, according to a new toll on Tuesday (22). Many of the victims are children who were in their schools when the quake hit.

The epicenter of the earthquake was detected near the city of Cianjur, in the province of West Java, the most populous in the country.

At least 151 people are still missing and more than 1,000 were injured, Suharyanto, head of Indonesia’s national disaster mitigation agency, told a news conference.

Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) said more than 2,200 homes were damaged and more than 5,300 people were displaced. Electricity went out and disrupted communication efforts, the Cianjur head of government said, adding that a landslide was blocking evacuations in one area.

Hundreds of victims were treated in a hospital parking lot, some under an emergency tent. Elsewhere in Cianjur, residents huddled together on mats in open fields or in tents, while surrounding buildings were reduced almost entirely to rubble.

Authorities are still working to determine the full extent of damage caused by the earthquake, which occurred at a relatively shallow depth of 10 km, according to the meteorological and geophysical agency (BMKG).

“Nothing left”

Many people camped outside in near-total darkness, surrounded by rubble, broken glass and large chunks of concrete.

Doctors tend to the injured in field hospitals that were improvised after the earthquake, which was also felt in the capital, Jakarta.

Mourners were waiting for the authorities to hand over the bodies of their relatives for burial according to Islamic rites.

In a shelter in the town of Ciherang, near Cianjur, people were trying to make sense of the tragedy.

Nunung, a 37-year-old woman, managed to pull her 12-year-old son out of the rubble of her home. “I screamed and asked for help, but no one came. I had to dig to free us,” she told AFP, her face still covered in dried blood.

“There’s nothing left. There is nothing that can be saved except the clothes we are wearing,” she stated.

The destruction was compounded by a wave of 62 aftershocks, with magnitudes of 1.8 to 4 degrees, in the city of 175,000 inhabitants.

Indonesia frequently experiences earthquakes because it is located in the region known as the Pacific Ring of Fire, the meeting point of tectonic plates.

The country is still scarred by the earthquake of December 26, 2004, with a magnitude of 9.1, off the coast of Sumatra.

The quake triggered a devastating tsunami that killed 220,000 people in the region, including 170,000 in Indonesia, one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history.

By admin