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  • Borislav Ivanov

Dozens killed in 5.6 magnitude earthquake in Java, Indonesia

On Monday, a shallow 5.6-magnitude earthquake toppled buildings and caused landslides on Indonesia's main island of Java, killing at least 162 people and injuring hundreds more.

Doctors treated patients outside after the quake, which was felt as far away as Jakarta, knocked out electricity at hospitals in the West Java town of Cianjur for several hours.

"I regret to inform that 162 are dead, 326 are injured with most of them sustained fractures from being crushed in ruins," Ridwan Kamil, governor of the worst-hit region West Java, said during a news conference in a video viewed by AFP. He said that the majority of the casualties were children.

As the rescue attempt continued throughout the night, 25 people remained buried under the wreckage, according to Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency. According to the statement, over 2,000 homes were destroyed and over 5,000 people were evacuated.

Kamil said that electricity had been largely restored by the evening, but did not explain whether this was via generators or connection to the electrical grid.

The afternoon quake was centered in the Cianjur district, and local officials reported up to 700 people were injured, with the death toll expected to increase further.

"Because there are still a lot of people stuck on the site," Kamil said, "we expect injuries and deaths to rise over time."

Some victims were transported to the hospital in pickup trucks and on motorcycles by locals. Residents laid a tarpaulin on the road in front of the facility for the dead.

According to a reporter on the scene, green tents were constructed outside Cimacan hospital for improvised treatment.

The governor, Kamil, said that many landslides had shut off road access to certain locations and that bulldozers were being employed to restore them.

According to Indonesian media, shops, a hospital, and an Islamic boarding school in the area were seriously damaged.

Several buildings in Cianjur had their roofs fallen, with rubble littering the streets, according to broadcasters. The village is located on a hill, and many of the dwellings are made of mud and concrete.

"Ambulances continue to arrive from the villages," Suherman added.

"Many families remain in areas that have not been evacuated."

The first world leader to express condolences was French President Emmanuel Macron.

"An earthquake with destructive and lethal force struck Indonesia this morning. Thoughts are with all of the victims," he wrote. Joko Widodo, Indonesia's president, has yet to respond to the earthquake.

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