(Updates death toll)
Jakarta, Nov 21 (EFE).- At least 62 people died and hundreds were injured after a magnitude 5.6-earthquake shook the province of West Java, Indonesia’s most populous with nearly 50 million inhabitants, authorities said Monday.
The government spokesman for Cianjur, the West Java town at the epicenter of the quake, told Efe that most of the victims died at Sayang hospital.
Authorities expect the death toll to rise amid fears of landslides as the search for victims trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings continues.
The United States Geological Survey recorded the earthquake at 1.21 pm (08:00 GMT) at a depth of 10 kilometers, initially with a magnitude of 5.4 before later revising the figure. The National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure (BNPB) said it was located about 10 km southwest of Cianjur regency.
Herman Suherman, Cianjur’s administrative chief, told reporters the tremors have injured around 700 people.
“Victims continue to arrive from many areas,” Suherman told Kompas TV.
He added that due to the devastation caused by the earthquake, many roads and highways in the region are closed and some power distribution stations were affected, causing power outages in several towns.
After the initial quake, the Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency (BMKG) recorded 25 aftershocks in just two hours.
Footage and photos posted to social media showed injured people on stretchers receiving medical assistance and piles of rubble.
The impact of the quake caused serious damage to at least 343 houses and an Islamic boarding school was heavily damaged, while the Cianjur hospital, located some 75 km from the capital Jakarta, where the tremor was also felt, suffered moderate damage.
Indonesia, home to some 275 million people, sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of heightened seismic and volcanic activity where some 7,000 earthquakes are recorded every year, most of them moderate.
One of the country’s deadliest catastrophes occurred in 2004, when a powerful earthquake struck the western coast of the northern Indonesian island of Sumatra triggering a tsunami that killed over 226,000 people across a dozen nations on the Indian Ocean. EFE