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Indonesia: Java quake kills 40 and injures hundreds

People stay outside amid fears of aftershocks following an earthquake at a business area in Jakarta, Indonesia, 21 November 2022.EPA

An earthquake has struck the main Indonesian island of Java, leaving more than 40 people dead and hundreds injured, say local officials.

The 5.6 magnitude quake struck Cianjur town in West Java, at a shallow depth of 10km (6 miles), according to US Geological Survey data.

The tremor could be felt in the capital Jakarta about 100km away, where people in high-rise buildings were evacuated.

Officials warn of possible aftershocks and say the death toll could rise.

The area where the quake struck is densely populated and prone to landslides, with poorly-built houses. Rescuers have been trying to evacuate people from collapsed buildings, and managed to save a woman and her baby, according to local reports.

Herman Suherman, the head of administration in Cianjur town, told local media at least 46 people had been killed.

"Victims kept coming from many areas. Around 700 people were injured," he told Kompas TV.

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Earlier, AFP news agency quoted him as saying most injuries were bone fractures sustained from people being trapped by debris in buildings.

"The ambulances keep on coming from the villages to the hospital," he said.

"There are many families in villages that have not been evacuated."

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Videos on social media showed the destruction to houses and shops.

Dozens of buildings had been damaged in Cianjur region, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said in a statement. They include a hospital and an Islamic boarding school.

In Jakarta, office workers rushed out of buildings in the civic and business district during the tremor, which lasted for about a minute.

"I was working when the floor under me was shaking. I could feel the tremor clearly. I tried to do nothing to process what it was, but it became even stronger and lasted for some time," lawyer Mayadita Waluyo told the AFP news agency.

An office worker named Ahmad Ridwan told Reuters: "We are used to this [earthquakes] in Jakarta, but people were so nervous just now, so we also panicked."

Earthquakes are common in Indonesia which sits on the "ring of fire" area of tectonic activity in the Pacific. The country has a history of devastating earthquakes and tsunamis, with more than 2,000 killed in a 2018 Sulawesi quake.



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