At least 163 people died in the earthquake in Indonesia: the majority were children

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A shallow 5.6 magnitude earthquake toppled buildings and walls on Monday in Java, the country's populous main island

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At least 163 people died in the Indonesian earthquake: most of them were children

A man carries an injured child for treatment at a hospital after an earthquake in Cianjur, West Java province, Indonesia (Antara Photo/Yulius Satria Wijaya via REUTERS)

A shallow 5.6 magnitude earthquake toppled buildings and walls on Monday in Java, the populous main island of Indonesia, where it killed at least 163 people and injured hundreds. People ran into the streets, some covered in blood and white powder, for safety. The region is home to more than 2.5 million people.

“Most of those who died were children,” said West Java Governor Ridwan Kami.< /b>Many were public school students who had finished their regular classes and were taking extra lessons in Islamic schools, he noted. Cianjur, about a three-hour drive from the capital Java, is known for having a large number of Islamic boarding schools and mosques.

At least 163 people died from the earthquake in Indonesia : most were children

Indonesia is in the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire” (Antara Photo/Yulius Satria Wijaya/via REUTERS)

“There were many incidents in various Islamic schools,” Kamil said.

Kamil said more than 13,000 people whose homes had been badly damaged were taken to evacuation centers.

At least 163 people died in the Indonesian earthquake: most of them were children

A child injured in an earthquake receives treatment at Cianjur Regional Hospital in Cianjur, West Java province (REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

Emergency workers tended to the wounded on stretchers outside major hospitals, on terraces and parking lots in the Cianjur region. The injured, including children, received oxygen masks and intravenous lines and were being revived.

“I fainted. It was very strong,” said Hasan, a construction worker who, like many Indonesians, goes by only one name. “I saw my friends running to escape the building. But it was too late to get out and I was hit by a wall.”

At least 163 people died from the earthquake in Indonesia: most were children< /p>A shallow 5.6 magnitude earthquake toppled buildings and walls in Java on Monday (REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

Residents, some with crying children in their arms, fled damaged homes after that the earthquake was felt late in the afternoon, at a depth of 10 kilometers. The quake sowed panic in the Jakarta metropolitan area, where skyscrapers swayed and some were evacuated.

Rescuers and civilians searched for people who may have been buried in the remains of brick houses. The tremor was strong enough to knock down walls, chunks of concrete and tiles, some of which fell into bedrooms.

At least 163 people died in the Indonesian earthquake: most of them were children. a were children

As many buildings have collapsed, the death toll could rise (REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

The Indonesian disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) still put the death toll at 62 and rescuers they were looking for 25 people believed to be trapped under the rubble. A spokesman said the search would continue overnight.

Ridwan told reporters that as many buildings have collapsed, the death toll could rise.

At least 163 people died in the Indonesia earthquake: most were children

Kamil said more than 13,000 people whose homes had been badly damaged were taken to evacuation centers (Antara Photo/Yulius Satria Wijaya/via REUTERS)

“There are residents trapped in isolated places (…) so we assume that the number of injuries and deaths will increase over time.”

Indonesia is in the so-called “Ring of Fire” of the Pacific”, an area of ​​great seismic activity, where different plates of the earth's crust come together and which generates a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

(With information from AP and Reuters)

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