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Death toll from Indonesia quake rises to 268: Officials

  • 21 Nov 2022

Over 150 people remain missing and more than a thousand are injured, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said.

An elderly man stands near his destroyed house, after an earthquake in West Java province, Indonesia, November 22, 2022. ( Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana / Reuters )

Indonesian authorities say the death toll from Monday's earthquake on Java has leapt to 268 as more bodies have been discovered under collapsed buildings.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said on Tuesday that 151 people are still missing and that another 1,083 people are injured.

The shallow 5.6-magnitude quake struck in mountains in Indonesia's most populous province of West Java, causing significant damage to the town of Cianjur and burying at least one village under a landslide.

Landslides and rough terrain were hampering rescue efforts, said Henri Alfiandi, head of National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas).

"The challenge is the affected area is spread out ... On top of that, the roads in these villages are damaged," Alfiandi told a news conference, adding that more than 13,000 people had been evacuated.

"Most of the casualties are children, because at 1 pm they were still at school," he said, referring to the time the quake hit.

President Joko Widodo travelled to Cianjur on Tuesday to encourage rescuers.

READ MORE: In pictures: Hunt for buried survivors after deadly quake hits Indonesia

With hospitals already overwhelmed, patients lay on stretchers and cots in tents set up outside, with intravenous drips in their arms as they awaited further treatment.

The Basarnas said that dozens of buildings were damaged, including an Islamic boarding school, a hospital and other public facilities.

'Felt so strong'

The quake was felt strongly in the greater Jakarta area. High rises in the capital swayed and some were evacuated.

“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.

Earthquakes occur frequently across the sprawling archipelago nation, but it is uncommon for them to be felt in Jakarta.

The country of more than 270 million people is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

In February, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed at least 25 people and injured more than 460 in West Sumatra province. In January 2021, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed more than 100 people and injured nearly 6,500 in West Sulawesi province.

A powerful Indian Ocean quake and tsunami in 2004 killed nearly 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia.

READ MORE: Strong earthquake strikes off Indonesia coast

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