Bandung. West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said the death toll in the daylight earthquake on Monday has risen to 162, a vast majority of whom were children unable to escape in time during the class hour when the disaster struck in Cianjur.
It was the second deadly disaster in Indonesia in less than two months after at least 134 people died in a football stadium crush in Malang, East Java.
“There are 162 fatalities and 326 injured victims who mostly suffered from broken bones and trauma from being hit by sharp objects,” Ridwan told a news conference on Monday evening.
The governor said that the death toll may increase because many people remain unaccounted for and possibly still trapped under the debris.
He said the earthquake also displaced more than 13,000 people and destroyed 2,345 buildings in Cianjur, about 108 kilometers southeast of Jakarta.
“It was a moderate quake yet very destructive. At least three national roads were severely damaged and isolated,” the governor said.
The majority of the dead were schoolchildren who still had a class during the earthquake at 01:21 p.m. local time (06:21 a.m. GMT), Ridwan said without going into details.
The provincial government has appointed three hospitals in Cianjur to treat the injured.
Electricity is currently available only at 20 percent of the quake-hit district, hampering evacuation works when the night falls, he said.
The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said the earthquake was measured at 5.6 on the Richter Scale at the depth of 10 kilometers.
A BMKG official said it’s more about the depth of the earthquake, not the magnitude, that produces the devastating impacts.
“It’s categorized as a shallow earthquake at the depth of less than 10 kilometers so it doesn’t take a magnitude of 7 or above to cause destruction,” BMKG’s Earthquake and Tsunami Center Head Daryono said at a video conference in Jakarta.
Shallow earthquakes on the earth’s outer surface produce more intense shaking and tend to be much more damaging than deep earthquakes.
Cianjur and neighboring districts like Sukabumi, Lembang, Purwakarta, and Bandung are located in an active seismic zone with frequent earthquakes, he added.