DEC 16, 2017 3:07 PM PST

6.5-magnitude earthquake shakes Indonesia

An earthquake with a 6.5 magnitude shook Cipatujah, in western Java of Indonesia late on Friday. So far three casualties have been reported and seven individuals injured. One of the deaths was an 80-year-old woman that became trapped in a collapsed building. A 62-year-old man died in similar circumstances. According to the US Geological Survey, the quake reached from a depth of 91.9 kilometers and people as far away as Jakarta, the capital, which is located about 305 km away from Cipatujah, felt tremors.

Photo: USGS

Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, reported that a tsunami alert was issued soon after the earthquake. This issuance was perhaps as a result of a tsunami caused by a 9.1 magnitude earthquake in 2004 when 170,000 people died. The tsunami that year reached coastal areas as far away as Somalia. This caused many scared people to evacuate their homes this time around. Nevertheless, the warning was lifted at 2:30 AM on Friday night as no signs of a tsunami were seen and people were able to return to their homes.

Indonesia faces regular seismic activity because of its geographic location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide. Just last year an earthquake that hit in the Aceh province in Sumatra killed at least 100 people. Watch the video below to see footage of past seismic activity in the region. 

Officials are now assessing damage, as several hundred homes and buildings are thought to have been destructed. Amongst these buildings is a Banyumas Hospital, where 70 patients had to be moved to tents and another temporary shelter. Residents were also advised to go to temporary shelters if their homes were not safe during the aftershocks of the earthquake.

Patients had to be evacuated outside a hospital in Banyumas.. Photo: Agus Fitrah

A 50-year-old resident of Jakarta, Web Warouw, told his story: he was on the 18th floor of a building in Jakarta when he first felt the tremors. "Suddenly, we felt dizzy... We then realized it was a quake and immediately ran downstairs," Warouw told AFP.

Sources: CNN, Accuweather, Channel News Asia

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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