Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Earthquake in Java, Indonesia

People are clearing the rubbish from collapsed houses in Ciamis after an earthquake hit West Java. Photo by: Kikin Kuswandi/Indonesian Red Cross

This afternoon I was driving between offices in Jakarta when I saw hundreds of people running out of a high rise building onto the street. A few seconds later I got a text message saying a large earthquake had struck near Bandung.

I got confirmation from the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) that it had caused some damage in and around Bandung.

People rushed out of buildings in Jakarta when a violent earthquake shook the capital.

At the meeting with Danish, French, Honk Kong and Spanish Red Cross we pieced information together from computer maps and messages we received from the field. A tsunami warning was issued but fortunately the wave generated was quite small and caused little damage.

Later I received a more detailed report from the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI)

Following 7.4 SR main shock after shock hit 3 times in Tasikmalaya and surrounding area, the tremor of main shock felt across Java island from Banten and even reach Bali. It was reported that 12 districts affected by the earthquake, namely: Bogor
district, Cianjur, Sukabumi, Municipality of Sukabumi, west Bandung, Bandung, Garut, Banjar, Ciamis, Tasikmalaya, Municipality of Tasikmalaya and Purwakarta, also in central Java tremor also gave impact in Cilacap District

Most of the area that is severely damaged is the coastal area in southern part of Indonesia. Communication line still disturb in Tasikmalaya in Banjar reported electricity cut off due to effect of the earthquake, 5.000 idps in Sindang Barang Cianjur. In Bandung 13 Village in pangalengan subdistict reported severely affected affected, 30 idps in Cimaung Bandung. For time being reported that 22 people died (Ciamis 2 people: Cianjur 12 people: Bandung 6 people; Garut 3 People) and 29 people injured, also reported that 810 houses damaged and 16 public facility building collapsed.

Immediate need for survivors are tarpaulins and tents

I arrived home six hours after the quake and Naila, my wife, was still somewhat shaken by the quake. "First I heard a loud noise then the building started swaying, the lights swung violently and I heard people screaming and talking loudly", she said.
She then told me how she joined a huge throng of people rushing down the stairway in this 30 floor building, and of people tripping, fainting, children and Mothers screaming. Old people struggled to get down the stairs and she said it was like a scene from a horror movie.

Then she showed me all the cracks in the apartment that were caused by the quake. A huge crack ran diagonally across the wall in the boys bedroom where they were sleeping peacefully. The kitchen, hallway and lounge walls all bore cracks as well.

Before i went to bed I got a detailed report from the Indonesian Red Cross and was delighted to read of their efforts in rescue, tending to the injured and providing food and shelter to the homeless. Wayne, our Disaster Coordinator has released large numbers of relief items from our warehouse in support of the PMI efforts.


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