Toll in Indonesian Quake Rises to 45


Jakarta, Sep 3: At least 45 people were killed and dozens were missing and feared dead after a magnitude 7.3 earthquake devastated the western part of Indonesia's Java island, officials and state media reported Thursday.

Officials said more than 18,000 homes were damaged in Wednesday's quake and more than 5,000 people were displaced in the hardest-hit areas.

Television footage showed residents cooking food in kitchens set up outside their homes to prepare pre-dawn meals before they began their daily fasts during the Islamic month of Ramzan.

Data released by the National Agency for Disaster Management showed the death toll stood at 45 by Thursday morning and more than 140 people were injured. The health ministry put the number of injured at 422.

Officials feared the death toll could rise as communications were restored to remote areas where electricity and telephone lines had been cut and news of more casualties comes in.

In Cianjur district, searches resumed Thursday morning for at least 46 people who were buried alive and feared dead after a landslide triggered by the quake covered a dozen homes and a mosque, media reports said.

West Java governor Ahmad Heryawan was quoted as saying by the state-run Antara news agency late Wednesday that rescue teams, including the military and police, had been dispatched to provide emergency relief and save lives.

The quake also jolted the capital, Jakarta, shaking buildings and sending residents running out of their homes and high-rise office towers screaming in panic. A tsunami alert was issued but cancelled less than an hour later.

Officials said at least one person was killed and 27 injured in Jakarta, where the tremor caused cracks in some buildings and shattered windows.

The quake struck at 2.55 p.m. (0755 GMT) Wednesday with its epicentre 142 km south-west of Bandung, the capital of West Java. It was felt in areas as far as the resort island of Bali.

The US Geological Survey put the quake's magnitude at 7.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago nation, sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, which is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity because continental plates meet there.

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck the southern coast of west Java in July 2006, killing more than 600 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

A major earthquake and subsequent tsunami also struck in December 2004, leaving more than 170,000 people dead or missing in Indonesia's Aceh province and half a million people homeless. About 230,000 people were killed in countries across the Indian Ocean in that tsunami and quake.


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Title: Toll in Indonesian Quake Rises to 45

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