Islamic Relief has begun responding to a deadly earthquake in Indonesia, which has left thousands of people homeless. At least 162 people have been killed and hundreds more injured after a 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck West Java province on 21 November. Dozens of people have also been reported missing, according to Indonesia’s disaster response agency (BNPB).
These numbers are expected to rise as search and rescue efforts continue, with officials in affected areas already reporting a higher death toll. There has been widescale destruction including over 2,000 houses and at least 1 hospital destroyed. Landslides have blocked some roads, hampering access to affected areas.
The earthquake struck around 13:21 local time (06:21 GMT), some 100km from the Indonesian capital Jakarta, and was felt in 5 districts – Cianjur, Bogor, Bandung, Sukabumi, and Jakarta.
Cianjur was the hardest hit area, officials said, noting that many homes in the district were not structured to withstand an earthquake. Photos shared with Islamic Relief showed collapsed shops and bloodied teachers and students at a high school in Cianjur. Many schoolchildren are among the dead, according to search and rescue teams.
Electricity is down in the district and people are remaining outside for fear aftershocks may topple more buildings. More than 80 aftershocks have been recorded since the earthquake struck, and Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency (BMKG) has warned of a risk of further landslides.
Tarpaulins, food, and blankets
Islamic Relief is active in West Java and the emergency response team has arrived to assist affected communities in Cianjur. IRW is already working through a local partner organization to distribute tarpaulin sheets for emergency shelters. The organization also plans to distribute hygiene kits and other much-needed items including food, water, and blankets.
Nanang Subana Dirja, Islamic Relief’s head of mission for Indonesia, said the situation in Cianjur was challenging to assess in the hours after the earthquake struck.
“Friends in Cianjur are telling me that the situation on the ground is very chaotic. Everyone is waiting outside their homes and many people are in shock. I wanted to speak to those affected to find out what help they needed but many people were too traumatized to speak at first. This earthquake was very shallow and struck inland in a highly populated, poor area, inflicting damage and causing casualties.”
Islamic Relief Indonesia is continually monitoring the situation and will scale up response efforts depending on the needs on the ground.