An earthquake killed 321 people, injuring hundreds in Indonesia as search for survivors continues
A shallow 5.6-magnitude earthquake killed 321 people, many of them children, 40 people are still missing with hundreds injured, when it toppled buildings and triggered landslides on Indonesia's main island of Java on Monday, 21 November 2022. Damaged roads and the vast size of the affected area are making it difficult to locate and help victims. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said the quake damaged more than 62 000 houses and forced more than 73 000 people to evacuate to at least 325 shelters in several locations in the region. Rescuers were trying to reach survivors trapped under the rubble amid a series of aftershocks.
Doctors treated patients outdoors after the quake, which was felt as far away as the capital Jakarta, left hospitals in the West Java town of Cianjur without power for several hours.
Aprizal Mulyadi was at school when the quake hit and was trapped after "the room collapsed". The 14-year-old said his "legs were buried under the rubble" but he was pulled to safety by his friend Zulfikar, who later died after himself becoming trapped.
"I regret to inform that 321 are dead. 326 are injured with most of them sustained fractures from being crushed in ruins," Ridwan Kamil, governor of worst-hit province West Java. He said most of the victims were children. "So many buildings crumbled and shattered," Mr Kamil said. "There are residents trapped in isolated places... so we are under the assumption that the number of injured and deaths will rise with time."
Adam, a spokesman for the local administration in Cianjur town, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, confirmed the toll to AFP.
Mr Kamil said power had been partially restored by the evening, without specifying if that meant by generators or connection to a power grid.
The afternoon quake was centred in the Cianjur region and local authorities earlier said as many as 700 had been injured, warning the death toll could rise further. "Because there are still a lot of people trapped on the scene, we assume injuries and fatalities will increase over time," Mr Kamil said as ambulance sirens blared in the background.
The majority of deaths were counted in one hospital, the head of Cianjur's local administration Herman Suherman said, with most of the victims killed in the ruins of collapsed buildings. He told Indonesian media the town's Sayang hospital had no power after the quake, leaving doctors unable to operate on victims immediately. More health workers were urgently needed due to the overwhelming number of patients, he said. "The ambulances keep on coming," Suherman said.
Locals rushed victims to the hospital in pickup trucks and on motorbikes, according to footage obtained by AFP. They were placed in front of the facility as residents spread a tarpaulin on the road for the bodies.
At another facility, Cimacan hospital, green tents were erected outside for makeshift treatment, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.
Victims arrived covered in blood, while parents looked for their children.
Mr Kamil said multiple landslides had cut off road access to some areas and bulldozers were being used to reopen them.
Shops, a hospital and an Islamic boarding school in the town were severely damaged, according to Indonesian media.
Collapsed buildings and debris lined the streets in Cianjur. The town is situated in a hilly area where many houses are built with a mixture of mud and concrete.
Cianjur police chief Doni Hermawan told Metro TV authorities had rescued a woman and a baby from a landslide but a third person they found had died of their injuries.
Indonesia's meteorological agency said it recorded 62 aftershocks in Cianjur after the quake, with magnitudes ranging from 1.8 to 4.
There were no reports of casualties or major damage in Jakarta, a three-hour drive away.
Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide.
A 6.2-magnitude quake that shook Sulawesi island in January 2021 killed more than 100 people and left thousands homeless.
Sources: AFP, BBC, SBS News, The New York Times