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5.6 Magnitude Earthquake Leaves Scores Dead and Hundreds Injured in Java

An earthquake with a 5.6 magnitude struck the main Indonesian island of Java on Monday, the 21st of November.

Rescuers pull a man out of the rubble in Java following the earthquake. Image: Absee House/Shutterstock

An earthquake with a 5.6 magnitude struck the main Indonesian island of Java on Monday, the 21st of November.

According to USGS, the earthquake struck the town of Cianjur at a shallow depth of 6 miles.

Being so close to a town, the earthquake has caused immeasurable damage, with buildings being demolished and the number of known deaths nearing 300. The exact figure is unknown, and the rescue mission is still very much in full force.

The quake happened at 13:21 local time.

The area where the earthquake struck is densely populated and prone to landslides. A landslide is the mass movement of rock, debris, or earth down a slope, often occurring after earthquakes. Moving lots of rubble, landslides are big causes of death.

The tremors from the earthquake were felt across Indonesia, including the Sukabumi, Bandung, Cinajur, and Bogor districts.

The charity Red Cross has said that “around 978,000 have been affected” by the quake. “More than 58,000 people have been displaced… more than 22,000 buildings were destroyed”.

With these figures, the damage caused by this earthquake is devastating both in loss of life and economic impact. The full consequences are still unclear.

The damage was made worse by 117 reported smaller aftershocks continuing the damage and danger in Java and the surrounding areas.

Large damage to buildings, power cuts, and heavy rainfall are all impacting search efforts. As well as this, access points have been blocked, making it hard to reach desired areas and for casualties to reach hospitals.

This is some footage that gives an insight into how much damage and chaos this natural disaster has caused:

The Red Cross says 19 schools have been destroyed. Due to the time of the earthquake, many children were at school.

How is the Indonesian Red Cross Helping?

The Indonesian Red Cross, known as Palang Merah Indonesia, is helping rescue efforts. As well as this, 13 personnel, 3 units of transport trucks, and water, food, and blankets have all been displaced.

The Red Cross has confirmed that teams worldwide are on standby to help further if needed.

The Secretary General of the Indonesian Red Cross, Sudirman Said, said: “We are doing all we can to ensure no more lives are lost… we would urge people to stay calm and contact authorities for help.”

The Indonesian Government

The Indonesian Government has declared a national state of emergency for 30 days following the earthquake: 21st November- 20th December.

The focus for the government is the rescue operation with the Indonesia National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure deploying a Rapid Reaction team.

In 2011, Japan had a devastating earthquake followed by a Tsunami.

Indonesia, being on the “ring of fire,” is prone to earthquakes due to its position in the most volcanically active area of the world. The country has a devastating history of national disasters, including earthquakes and tsunamis. In 2009, an earthquake hit the same area of West Java with a magnitude of 7.0.

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