At least 162 people have been killed following an earthquake in Indonesia, with the “majority” of them being children, according to West Java’s governor.
As of 9pm local time, 326 people had minor or serious injuries, 2,345 houses were heavily damaged and 13,400 were displaced in the 5.6 magnitude quake, governor Ridwan Kamil said.
Herman Suherman, a district official from Cianjur, told Kompas TV evacuation efforts were being hampered by landslides in some places.
Many people were hurt because they were hit by collapsed buildings, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, with some residents trapped in the rubble.
Heavy equipment has been prepared to evacuate the villages still buried tomorrow.
Many casualties included children, some of whom were resuscitated while others were given oxygen masks.
“The majority of those who died were children,” the governor said, adding that many were public school students who had finished their regular classes and were taking extra lessons at Islamic schools.
The earthquake hit the Cianjur region in West Java province at a depth of 6.2 miles, according to the US Geological Survey.
Electricity in the area was down, disrupting communications.
Several landslides were reported around Cianjur and dozens of buildings were damaged, including an Islamic boarding school, a hospital and other public facilities.
Footage from Metro TV showed some buildings in Cianjur reduced almost entirely to rubble as residents huddled outside.
Residents in the capital city of Jakarta fled into the streets for safety.
Muchlis, who was in Cianjur when the quake hit, said he was “very shocked” and “worried” as he felt “a huge tremor” and the walls and ceiling of his office were damaged.
Twenty-five aftershocks were recorded in two hours after the quake, according to the weather and geophysics agency BMKG.
Earthquakes occur frequently across the sprawling archipelago nation of more than 270 million people, but it is uncommon for them to be felt in Jakarta.
In February, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed at least 25 people and injured more than 460 in West Sumatra province. Tremors were felt as far away as Malaysia and Singapore.
In January 2021, at least 105 people died and nearly 6,500 were injured in West Sulawesi province following a major earthquake of similar magnitude.
Indonesia straddles the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, a highly seismically active zone where different plates on the earth’s crust meet and create numerous earthquakes and volcanoes.