Thursday, September 3, 2009

Major earthquake hits Indonesia

The 7.0 magnitude quake shook buildings in the capital Jakarta on Wednesday afternoon and flattened homes in villages closer to the epicentre in West Java.

At least 42 people were killed and more than 300 people injured, the government said. Officials said about 1,300 houses were damaged, although local media put the number at 3,500.

Another 42 were missing, presumed dead, after the quake triggered a landslide in the district of Cianjur, about 60 miles south of Jakarta, said Priyadi Kardono, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

Kardono said the death toll may rise sharply as scores of houses and offices had collapsed or suffered severe damage. Some areas near the epicentre could not be contacted for several hours.

"It's possible the death toll could grow higher."

Asian states offered to help deal with the quake aftermath.

"We've said to the Indonesian authorities we will work with them in terms of any assistance that we can provide," Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told national radio.

Yukio Hatoyama, Japan's next prime minister after his Democratic Party of Japan's landslide election victory, said his government would provide help "regardless of any request.

Indonesia's 17,000 islands are scattered along a belt of volcanic and seismic activity known as the Pacific "ring of fire," one of the most quake-prone places on earth.

Indonesia's seismology agency put the magnitude of Wednesday's quake at 7.3 with the epicentre 142 km (88 miles) southwest of Tasikmalaya, in West Java.

At least 38 people were injured in Jakarta, the health ministry said. Buildings shook and residents said thousands of people poured into the streets from office and apartment blocks.

Original Source:
Reuters, 2 September 2009

Magnitude 7.0 - JAVA, INDONESIA - USGS
TIMELINE-Key disasters in Indonesia since 2004 - Reuters
Photo Gallery: Major earthquake rocks Indonesia –