Strong quake shakes main Indonesia island, no major damage
A strong earthquake shook parts of Indonesia’s main island of Java on Saturday, causing panic but only minor damage just two weeks after an equally powerful quake killed hundreds.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 5.7 quake was centered about 18 kilometers (11 miles) southeast of Banjar, a city between West Java and Central Java provinces, at a depth of 112 kilometers (70 miles).
One resident was injured in Selaawi village of West Java’s Garut district, and at least four houses and a school were damaged, said Suharyanto, the National Disaster Management Agency head who goes by a single name. He said authorities were still collecting information about the damage.
A magnitude 5.6 earthquake on Nov. 21 killed at least 331 people and injured nearly 600 in West Java’s Cianjur city. It was the deadliest in Indonesia since a 2018 quake and tsunami in Sulawesi killed about 4,340 people. It also struck at a shallower depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).
Many in Garut are still haunted by the disaster that devastated Cianjur and set off landslides, the district chief, Rudi Gunawan, said in a television interview.
“The earthquake has caused extremely panic among people amid monsoon downpour,” he said, adding that his administration had alerted hospitals, health centers and ambulances to be ready to treat possible victims.
Apart from the one injured, by Saturday evening there were no other casualties reported from all 42 villages in Garut, one of the closest district to the epicenter, Gunawan said. Many houses suffered minor damage.
Dwikorita Karnawati, head of Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency, said there was no danger of a tsunami but warned of possible aftershocks. The agency put a preliminary magnitude at 6.4. Variations in early measurements are common.
High-rises in Jakarta, the capital, swayed for more than 10 seconds and some ordered evacuations, sending streams of people into the streets. Even two-story homes shook in Central Java’s cities of Kulon Progo, Bantul, Kebumen and Cilacap.
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 arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin known as the “Ring of Fire.”
In 2004, an extremely powerful Indian Ocean quake set off a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia’s Aceh province.