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Wednesday February 08, 2023

5.8-magnitude earthquake jolts Indonesia's Java island

Quake struck around 15 kilometres from town of Cianjur, epicentre of November's devastating tremor, US Geological Survey says

By AFP
December 08, 2022
A villager looks at damaged houses following a 5.6-magnitude earthquake that killed at least 162 people in West Java in November. — AFP/File
A villager looks at damaged houses following a 5.6-magnitude earthquake that killed at least 162 people in West Java in November. — AFP/File

JAKARTA: A 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit Indonesia's main island of Java on Thursday with no immediate reports of damage, less than a month after another quake in the same province killed more than 300 people.

The quake struck at 07:50 am local time (0050 GMT) around 15 kilometres from the town of Cianjur, epicentre of November's devastating tremor, the United States Geological Survey said.

It said there was a low likelihood of casualties or damage following the quake, which struck at a depth of 123 kilometres (76 miles).

No damage was immediately reported in Cianjur or Sukabumi, the city nearest the epicentre, local disaster mitigation agency officials said Thursday.

But schools were temporarily evacuated in Sukabumi, according to local TV.

"The epicenter of the earthquake is in Sukabumi, so it was only lightly felt in Cianjur. No reports of damage to houses or casualties," said Wawan Setawan, a disaster agency official in Cianjur told AFP.

"We have yet to receive reports of damage caused by the earthquake", Imran Wardhani, an official in Sukabumi, said soon after the tremor.

Last month, a shallow 5.6-magnitude earthquake hit Cianjur, triggering landslides and collapsing buildings, killing at least 334 people, injuring thousands and leaving tens of thousands more homeless.

Save the Children warned this week that evacuees faced a "ticking time bomb" of disease and infection due to poor living conditions. Thousands of cases of respiratory infections and hundreds of cases of diarrhoea have been reported.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo is visiting the area on Thursday to distribute aid to affected residents.

The tremor that struck Cinajur on November 21 was the deadliest in the archipelago nation since a 2018 quake and resulting tsunami killed more than 4,000 people on the island of Sulawesi.

Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide.

The quake comes days after a volcanic eruption in the country's Mount Semeru on the main island of Java on December 4. The volcano erupted spewing hot ash clouds a mile into the sky and sending rivers of lava down its side, prompting authorities to raise the alert status to the highest level.

The eruption of the highest mountain on Indonesia's main island of Java, around 800 kilometres (500 miles) southeast of the capital, Jakarta, sparked over 2400 evacuations of nearby villages exactly one year after its last major eruption killed dozens of people.