The death toll from the latest Indonesian earthquake has risen to 268, with 151 still reported missing. The quake which hit the island of Java, has injured 1,083 people according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency. The quake hit the city of Cianjur on Monday afternoon, with one woman saying her home started shaking like it was dancing.
According to Global News, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo travelled to the scene of the quake and reassured the government’s response to those in need.
“On behalf of myself and on behalf of the government, I would like to express my deep condolences to the victims and their families in this Cianjur earthquake.”
Jokowi then pledged to rebuild infrastructure, including the bridge that connects Cianjur to other cities. He also promised government assistance of up to 50 million rupiahs (US $3,180) to each resident whose house was damaged.
International aid has also been pouring in as the world hears about the quake. Hospitals are reportedly overwhelmed with patients sitting on cots and stretchers outside. Many who died were reportedly public school students who had just finished their classes for the day and were taking extra lessons at school when buildings collapsed.
Damaged roads and bridges hampered initial rescue attempts with operators focusing on certain locations in Cianjur, where people are still believed to be trapped. Endra Atmawidjaja, the spokesperson of public works and housing, noted the difficulties in the search operations.
“We are racing against time to rescue people.”
Cianjur is part of a mountainous district of the same name and has around 175,000 people. The people of Cianjur live mostly in towns of one and two-story buildings and smaller homes in the surrounding countryside.
The quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometres, causing panic in the greater Jakarta area which is about a three-hour drive. High rises swayed in Jakarta with some people forcing them to evacuate such buildings. Indonesia is frequently struck by earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions due to its location in the arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin known as the “Ring of Fire.”
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