Rescuers were digging through debris Tuesday to find survivors of a powerful earthquake that toppled villages and houses in a heavily populated region of Indonesia’s West Java province, killing more than 100 people.
The 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck the Cianjur region in West Java at 1:21 p.m. local time on Monday at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), according to the United States Geological Survey. (USGS), buildings destroyed school classrooms. continued.
On Tuesday the death toll rose to 103 with the majority of people injured under collapsed buildings, according to the country’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB). Earlier, the governor of West Java, Ridwan Kamil, said that more than 160 have died – the reason for the discrepancy remains unclear.
Photos showed buildings reduced to rubble, with bricks and broken pieces scattered in the streets. More than 700 people were injured, with thousands displaced, according to BNPB.
“Most of the dead are children,” Kamil told reporters on Monday, adding that the death toll could rise. “There have been many incidents in some Islamic schools.”
Strong tremors sent children running from their classrooms, according to the aid group Save the Children, which said more than 50 schools had been affected.
Mia Saharosa, a teacher at one of the affected schools, said the earthquake was “a shock to all of us,” according to the group.
“We all gathered in the field, the children were scared and crying, worried about their families at home,” Saharosa said. “Let’s support each other, strengthen each other, and continue to pray.”
Herman Suherman, a government official in Cianjur, told the media that some residents were trapped in the rubble of destroyed buildings. Metro TV news channel showed hundreds of victims being treated in a hospital parking lot.
Television footage showed residents outside buildings that were about to collapse, according to Reuters.
One resident, who gave his name only as Muchlis, said there was a “huge shake” that caused the walls and ceiling of his office to collapse.
“I was shocked. I was worried there might be an earthquake,” he told Metro TV.
The BMKG warned the Indonesian government about the risk of landslides, especially if the rains are heavy, as 25 aftershocks occurred in the two hours after the earthquake.
Rescuers were unable to reach some of the trapped people quickly, he said, adding that the situation remains critical.
Government authorities are building tents and shelters for the victims while serving their needs.
Indonesia sits on the “Ring of Fire,” a band around the Pacific that is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity. One of the most seismically active regions on earth, it stretches from Japan and India on one side of the Pacific Ocean to California and South America on the other.
In 2004, a magnitude 9.1 earthquake struck the island of Sumatra in northern Indonesia, triggering a tsunami that affected 14 countries, killing 226,000 people along the Indian coast, and more half of them in Indonesia.