The toll in the 5.6-magnitude earthquake in Indonesia has risen to 268, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday, citing the National Disaster Mitigation Agency of the country.
Rescuers are still searching for the bodies as at least 151 persons are still missing.
The epicentre of the earthquake was the Cianjur region in the country’s West Java province and the tremors took place at a shallow depth of 10 kilometres, according to data from the United States Geological Survey.
Nearly 1,083 people were injured in the earthquake, said the head of National Disaster Mitigation Agency Suharyanto, reported AP.
The Governor of the West Java province Ridwan Kamil had said that authorities believe the number of deaths and injuries may rise, as many persons remained trapped at various places, AFP reported. “You can see it yourself, some got their heads, feet are sewn outdoors,” he said. “Some got stressed and started crying.”
The governor said that over 13,000 persons whose homes suffered heavy damage were taken to evacuation centres.
The chief of Cianjur’s local administration Herman Suherman said that most of the fatalities were counted at one hospital. He added that most of the victims were killed in the ruins of collapsed buildings.
Suherman said that the Sayang hospital in West Java had no electricity after the earthquake, due to which doctors were unable to immediately operate on injured persons. In some places, emergency workers treated injured persons on stretchers and blankets outside hospitals.
Some of the injured persons were given oxygen masks and intravenous lines.
The earthquake also caused panic in the capital city of Jakarta, where some high-rise buildings swayed and residents rushed outside.
The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said that he was shocked by the devastation in Indonesia.
“Just last week, I experienced first-hand the warmth, generosity and kindness of the Indonesian people,” he said. “My thoughts are with them now.”
The United States’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed the country’s “heartfelt condolences to the affected communities during this difficult time”.
Frequent earthquakes in Indonesia
Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity, leading to earthquakes and tsunamis. This is because of its position on the Pacific Ring of Fire where tectonic plates collide.
In 2004, a 9.1-magnitude earthquake had hit the coast of Sumatra, triggering a tsunami that killed around 2.2 lakh people in the area. Around 1.7 lakhs died in Indonesia. In 2018, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake, followed by a tsunami, in Indonesia’s Sulawesi island had left over 4,300 people dead or missing.
In 2021, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed more than 100 people and injured nearly 6,500 in West Sulawesi province.